The first results from a Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear “family tree” study are encouraging . . .
Using genetic analysis U.S. Geological Survey Scientist Tabitha Graves and Nate Mikle recently completed a first look at the “family tree” of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
The 8-million plus acre area stretches from Glacier National Park south to Ovando. The pair looked at genetic data gathered from 1,115 bears in a 2004 study done by researcher Kate Kendall and again in 2009-2012 through hair follicle samples of bears.
The family tree, printed out on one sheet of paper, stretches 20 feet, Graves noted in an interview last week. The thrust of this initial study was to determine the genetic diversity of bears on the fringes of the ecosystem, namely in the southeast and southwest corners.
Here’s a good article by Chris Peterson in the Hungry Horse News discussing how the use of DNA analysis in grizzly bear research is really hitting its stride . . .
This summer, grizzly bears have been confirmed in the Big Hole River Valley of Montana for the first time in the last 100 years.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear manager Kevin Frey said they do have hair samples from at least one grizzly from earlier this summer in the Big Hole and the state plans on having the samples analyzed to find out if biologists can track the origins of the bear.
The case is just another illustration of how far DNA analysis of bears has come in the past 25 years.
The U.S. Forest Service has a shiny, new DNA analysis facility in Missoula . . .
They haven’t resurrected Mr. Spock in the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, but they’re hard at work on his tricorder.
Where the “Star Trek” science officer would wave his little satchel and detect the presence of life on alien planets, the technicians in the U.S. Forest Service’s new lab building can spot the presence (or absence) of specific fish in a whole river drainage from a cup of water.
They can trace the family tree of a sage grouse from a tail feather. Don’t get them started on what they can tell when a grizzly bear poops in the woods, if they get hold of the poop.