Sampling Ungulate Diet Composition with the Use of Collar-Mounted Video Cameras

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Amy Ulappa


Often different ungulate species utilize the same habitat for food and these herbivores specialize their foraging habits within a browser – grazer continuum to decrease competition. Understanding the foraging habits of these ungulates in their natural environment can clarify where they fit within this continuum and my project aims to assess this. To accomplish this, I observed videos of both deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and elk (Cervus elaphus) in the field taken from collar-mounted video cameras (CMVR) to facilitate recording of the number of bites taken and plant species consumed. I calculated bite rates and the percent of diet for each plant functional group eaten by both species and then compared them to determine if the distribution of bites within the functional groups differed. The trends observed with the CMVC observation method for each of a known grazer and browser should remain consistent with the scientific literature, but the degree of accuracy of this observation method may be lower than what real-time on-site observation would provide. Having a better understanding of diet composition helps us grasp the importance of quality habitat selection and the underpinnings of ungulate population health.

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