An individual-based model of the Cape Breton Island American marten (Martes mericana) population and habitat usage of released individuals

The American marten is a mink sized member of the weasel family. The Cape Breton Island population is believed to consist of fewer than 50 individuals. The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR; partner organization) have already begun efforts to augment the population in association with other partners. Individual based models (IBMs) are used to simulate population level processes (e.g. persistence, distribution) through cumulative individual life histories (e.g. reproduction, dispersal, mortality) in a virtual habitat. The intern aims to develop an IBM of the Cape Breton marten, using habitat maps designed during a previous MITACS ACCELERATE internship, to assess various augmentation scenarios and to identify factors critical to species recovery (i.e. though estimating how many individuals should be released, in what locations, over what time frame). In addition, the intern will conduct radio telemetry tracking of released individuals and a preliminary analysis of habitat usage. This research will benefit NSDNR by allowing them to maximize available resources, providing invaluable data concerning post]release movements and habitat usage, and will help ensure the persistence of the population.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Phil Taylor


Rebecca Jeppesen


Government of Nova Scotia




Environmental industry


Acadia University



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