Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Den site characteristics and kit survival of American marten in Manistee National Forest, Michigan.


Biology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Life Sciences


The American marten (Martes americana) is a small carnivorous mammal historically found throughout the forests of Michigan. Due to its specific habitat requirements, the presence of this species is often used as an indicator of healthy forest structure by ecologists. Marten were extirpated from Michigan's Lower Peninsula by the early 1900s. In 1986 the US Forest Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources reintroduced 36 marten into the Manistee National Forest. Monitoring efforts have indicated that the population has not expanded as expected since the reintroduction. As part of a collaboration between The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Grand Valley State University, female marten have already been fitted with radio collars. I am currently locating female den sites using radio telemetry. A site is categorized as a den based on reoccurring tracking of the female to the same location and presence of kits, prey remains, scat, etc. Remotely triggered cameras will be placed at den sites to monitor female attendance patterns, and document average litter size and kit survival. Den site locations will be analyzed for local habitat characteristics including structure type, tree species, DBH, and tree decay level. Landscape level characteristics including distance to roads, time since last harvest, and dominant vegetation will also be examined using GIS. To analyze use versus availability, den site characteristics will be compared to random sites within the female home range. Results of this study will be used in developing forest management recommendations for maintaining adequate marten denning sites.

Conference Name

The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Portland Oregon

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