SoundCheck

DNA research transforms deer pellets into ‘libraries’

To researcher Todd Brinkman, the fecal pellet of a Sitka black-tailed deer is a "library" of information. (Todd Brinkman photo)

To researcher Todd Brinkman, the fecal pellet of a Sitka black-tailed deer is a “library” of information.


Listen to iFriendly audio.

Estimating wildlife populations in Southeast Alaska has always been a difficult problem for biologists. The Tongass Forest both sustains and conceals large numbers of Sitka black-tailed deer. For decades, scientists have relied on fecal pellet studies to gauge populations, but deer scat is not a fingerprint. There’s no way of accurately determining how many individual deer produce a given number of pellets – until now.

Dr. Todd Brinkman works at the Institute of Arctic Biology in Fairbanks.

Dr. Todd Brinkman works at the Institute of Arctic Biology in Fairbanks.

Todd Brinkman is a researcher with the Institute of Arctic Biology in Fairbanks. Jon Martin is an assistant professor of Biology at the University of Alaska Southeast. The two scientists make the case that DNA is revolutionizing the study of Sitka black-tailed deer.

Besides his ground-breaking DNA studies on deer populations, Brinkman is also interested in the relationship between deer, the environment, and people. He calls this relationship a “hunting system,” and believes it could play a larger role in forest management in the future.

Read an article by Todd Brinkman in Fairchase, his scientific writing on estimating deer populations, and his work on hunting systems.

Jon Martin, assistan professor of Biology at UAS Sitka, with an impressive black-tailed buck last December. (Jon Martin photo)

Jon Martin, assistan professor of Biology at UAS Sitka, with an impressive black-tailed buck last December. (Jon Martin photo)


 Subscribe in a reader

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

In run-up to Nov. 4 election, Chamber forum questions Samuelson, Kreiss-Tomkins

PHOTO
House District candidates spoke at the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday (10-17-14). Incumbent Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and challenger Steven Samuelson fielded a mix of questions, some provided in advance by the Chamber and others sourced from the audience. more

Radio Theatre auditions this week for December performance

A host of radio plays will begin production this week, including a Western, a Sherlock Holmes period piece, and four John Longenbaugh plays. Directors Megan Pasternak and Suzan Brawnlyn were joined by producer Shannon Haugland of the Greater Sitka Arts Council Community Theater to talk about the staging of stories with sound. more