Bryn Athyn’s Deer Study

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The Deer Study is a collaboration between Bryn Athyn College and Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT).

The study began in 2006. The main focus is to track white-tailed deer fitted with high tech GPS/GSM radio collars in the suburban oasis of the Pennypack Watershed, which is surrounded by residential and industrial development. The study involves faculty and students from Bryn Athyn College and personnel from PERT.

In addition to tracking deer—and thus far more than 90,000 GPS fixes have been collected from the study animals—the study has developed and tested a method for estimating deer density using automated infrared-triggered trail cameras, and investigated analysis of vegetation impact, molecular genetics, and road and hunter kills.

Findings

The study presented posters at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America‘s meetings in April 2008 and March 2008. In addition, a mail-to-map function developed by Dr. Potapov, the principal investigator, which shows data from the tracking collars in real time around the clock on an internet Google map, is a first and has attracted world-wide attention.

The Deer Study helps the College and PERT understand the management of suburban deer, as well as damage to vegetation and danger to motorists resulting from overpopulation. Information from the study also shows how suburban deer move, and what factors influence their movements in different situations.

Website and Resources

Our Study Animals – Over the life of the project we have collected lots of photos and videos of Pennypack deer.

Videos of Our Deer – The Deer Study team has captured quite a few on camera. Take a look.

Mail-to-Map – This map tracks deer movements throughout the Pennypack. It also provides information on Pennypack weather conditions.

A Day With Deer – These panoramic views of deer trapping locations, photos and movies of tagged deer are the result of our teamwork with the deer monitoring team of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

References

POTAPOV, EUGENE, ALLEN BEDFORD, FREDRIK BRYNTESSON, SHERRI COOPER, BRAD NYHOLM, DAVID ROBERTSON, BRACKEN BROWN, DALLAS HENDRICKS, and ERIC A. ROHTLA. Human accessibility affects habitat use preferences and movement patterns of suburban white-tailed deer. Poster presented at the joint conference for the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Ecological Restoration held at The College of New Jersey on March 13, 2009.

POTAPOV, EUGENE, BRAD NYHOLM, DAVID ROBERTSON, ALLEN BEDFORD, FREDRIK BRYNTESSON, SHERRI COOPER, BRACKEN BROWN, DALLAS HENDRICKS, and ERIC A. ROHTLA. Habitat restoration in a suburban preserve from the perspective of white-tailed deer. Poster presented at the joint conference for the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Ecological Restoration held at The College of New Jersey, on March 13, 2009.

POTAPOV, EUGENE, ALLEN BEDFORD, FREDRIK BRYNTESSON, SHERRI COOPER, DAVID ROBERTSON, BRAD NYHOLM, ERIC A. ROHTLA and BRACKEN BROWN. Fine-scale daily movement patterns and territory use by white-tailed deer in suburban Philadelphia. Poster presented at the conference for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America held at Wilkes University, on April 19, 2008.

POTAPOV, EUGENE and ERIC A. ROHTLA. Can randomly placed trail cameras alone return density of White-tailed deer. Poster presented at the conference for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America held at Wilkes University, on April 19, 2008.