Presentation Title

Simulation of Population Expansion Dynamics for Mountain Goats Introduced to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Eleven or twelve mountain goats were introduced to the Olympic peninsula between 1925 and 1929. By 1970 they had colonized the entire range and concerns about the management of this non-native species developed as damage to alpine soil and vegetation was noted. An aerial census of the Olympic range conducted in July 1983 estimated the mountain goat population at 1175 +/- 171 SE. While a series of removals reduced the population to 389 +/- 106 SE goats in 1990, positive growth has since been noted and efforts to mitigate damage to fragile alpine ecosystems have been revived. We sought to adapt and parameterize an existing population model for use with mountain goats. All modeling work was conducted in CDPOP, a simulation program that uses individual-based movement (including dispersal), reproduction, and mortality to predict the influence of landscape heterogeneity on population dynamics and genetic exchange. Population parameters for the model were derived from published literature. We validated the model by successfully simulating the population trajectory for Olympic mountain goats from establishment through the first census. Our modeled population closely tracks observed population dynamics and anecdotal reports of dispersal. This model could be utilized to inform current management decisions regarding the impact of removals from the current Olympic mountain goat population and proposals to use these animals to augment dwindling native populations in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Start Date

6-5-2017 4:45 PM

End Date

6-5-2017 5:00 PM

Location

Miller Hall

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May 6th, 4:45 PM May 6th, 5:00 PM

Simulation of Population Expansion Dynamics for Mountain Goats Introduced to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State

Miller Hall

Eleven or twelve mountain goats were introduced to the Olympic peninsula between 1925 and 1929. By 1970 they had colonized the entire range and concerns about the management of this non-native species developed as damage to alpine soil and vegetation was noted. An aerial census of the Olympic range conducted in July 1983 estimated the mountain goat population at 1175 +/- 171 SE. While a series of removals reduced the population to 389 +/- 106 SE goats in 1990, positive growth has since been noted and efforts to mitigate damage to fragile alpine ecosystems have been revived. We sought to adapt and parameterize an existing population model for use with mountain goats. All modeling work was conducted in CDPOP, a simulation program that uses individual-based movement (including dispersal), reproduction, and mortality to predict the influence of landscape heterogeneity on population dynamics and genetic exchange. Population parameters for the model were derived from published literature. We validated the model by successfully simulating the population trajectory for Olympic mountain goats from establishment through the first census. Our modeled population closely tracks observed population dynamics and anecdotal reports of dispersal. This model could be utilized to inform current management decisions regarding the impact of removals from the current Olympic mountain goat population and proposals to use these animals to augment dwindling native populations in the Cascade Mountain Range.