Poster Session

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Faculty Mentor(s)

Jessica Patterson

Campus

Dahlonega

Proposal Type

Poster

Subject Area

Biology

Location

Digital Commons

Start Date

17-4-2020 12:00 PM

End Date

17-4-2020 1:00 AM

Description/Abstract

Groundhogs or Woodchucks (Marmota monax) are a very common sight in north Georgia and beyond through the Appalachian Mountains and Canada. These large rodents are often trapped or hunted due to their garden infestations and excessive burrowing causing infrastructure issues. However, their underground burrow networks play an important ecological role by providing vital shelter for foxes, skunks, snakes, and other animals. While groundhog behavior has been studied in the past, most sources are outdated, and new information could be useful for their continued species success and the conservation of potential cohabitating species. In this study we are observing groundhog behavior within proximity of their burrow entrances by placing trail cameras at select burrows throughout the Dahlonega, Georgia area. We are observing and recording behaviors (i.e. marking, chewing, mating, etc.), GPS coordinates for burrow locations, sex, ambient temperatures, time and date of observation, cohabitating species. and plant species consumed or chewed on by groundhogs. To date, our observations include multiple species in or around burrow entrances, interesting mating or territorial grunts that are unique to the groundhog’s well-known “whistle” call, groundhog mating rituals, and relocation of groundhog pups. Due to the lack of current data, this research could potentially be a step in further understanding the lifestyle and ecological role of these large mountain rodents.

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Apr 17th, 12:00 PM Apr 17th, 1:00 AM

41. Groundhog burrow networks: a nuisance, or conservation tool?

Digital Commons

Groundhogs or Woodchucks (Marmota monax) are a very common sight in north Georgia and beyond through the Appalachian Mountains and Canada. These large rodents are often trapped or hunted due to their garden infestations and excessive burrowing causing infrastructure issues. However, their underground burrow networks play an important ecological role by providing vital shelter for foxes, skunks, snakes, and other animals. While groundhog behavior has been studied in the past, most sources are outdated, and new information could be useful for their continued species success and the conservation of potential cohabitating species. In this study we are observing groundhog behavior within proximity of their burrow entrances by placing trail cameras at select burrows throughout the Dahlonega, Georgia area. We are observing and recording behaviors (i.e. marking, chewing, mating, etc.), GPS coordinates for burrow locations, sex, ambient temperatures, time and date of observation, cohabitating species. and plant species consumed or chewed on by groundhogs. To date, our observations include multiple species in or around burrow entrances, interesting mating or territorial grunts that are unique to the groundhog’s well-known “whistle” call, groundhog mating rituals, and relocation of groundhog pups. Due to the lack of current data, this research could potentially be a step in further understanding the lifestyle and ecological role of these large mountain rodents.