MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
T. Andrew Joyner, Joshua X. Samuels, Blaine W. Schubert
The national mammal of the United States, the American Bison (Bison bison) was once nearly extinct. Populations have recovered to the degree that thousands roam the Great Plains today. Due to their large numbers and body size, this species has an oversized impact on the ecological communities where it lives and is considered a keystone herbivore in modern North American grasslands. This study explores the detailed, seasonally resolved, paleoecology of seven bison from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem during the Late Holocene through stable isotope analyses and species niche modeling. Isotopic analyses of δ13C, δ15N, and δ18O reveal that bison within high elevations regularly foraged on C3 vegetation while traveling among the valleys and ridges of ecoregions similar to those of modern-day. Species distribution models provide a bimodal niche, with best-suited temperatures of 4-8°C and 16-26°C, and topographic ranges of 250-800m and 2,000-4000m.
Thesis - unrestricted
Bouvier, Darian, "The Paleoecology of High-Elevation Bison in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Implications for Modern Bison Conservation" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4113. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4113
Copyright by the authors.