Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Eric Long


island biogeography, population ecology, evolution, mortality, conservation


Future management of Columbian black tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) populations requires an understanding of survivorship and potential drivers of mortality. Little is currently known about the survivorship of O. h. columbianus, specifically in a predator-free environment. Analyzing the survivorship of deer in these contexts may be crucial for wildlife conservation efforts throughout the United States, as it could provide insight into how deer populations may be impacted by lack of population control by predation. Here, I present age analysis of O. h. columbianus based on the cementum annuli of the lower first molar in 489 males and females from Blakely Island, WA. Juvenile survivorship was found to be lower than that of the adult population. Sex-specific annual survival differed between males and females but overall average annual survivorship did not differ. The survivorship of O. h. columbianus on Blakely island was determined to be a Type 1 curve. As there are no predators present on the island, our results give further evidence that other factors besides predation, such as food availability, may be impacting O. h. columbianus survivorship.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

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