Title

Using stable isotopes to determine resource partitioning and the role of anthropogenic food sources on urban populations of Seattle and North Tacoma raccoons (Procyon lotor) and opossums (Didelphis virginiana)

Faculty Advisor

Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Wimberger, Peter; Jordan, Mark

Area of Study

Science and Mathematics

Publication Date

Summer 2016

Abstract

With increased urban space and human-wildlife interactions, there is a clear need for research directed towards urban wildlife in order to better manage land use, wildlife populations, and health concerns. No previous studies have quantified the role of anthropogenic food sources in raccoon and opossum diets. Corn, a C4 plant, is not found in Seattle and Tacoma except in processed human food, making it an excellent proxy for determining anthropogenic influence on wildlife diet. Raccoon diet in all regional populations is highly variable among individuals (range = 10 – 70% anthropogenic diet). For Seattle raccoons some of this variability is related to differences among parks. Seattle opossums are likely forage within the parks regardless of park size. Despite the accessibility of intertidal habitats, marine resources are not an important food source for Tacoma, Vashon or Seattle raccoons or opossums.

Publisher

University of Puget Sound

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