Session 1, Abstract 6
GOING NATIVE: ARBOREAL SQUIRREL BEHAVIOR ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS
Taylor Groves* (Michelle Bezanson), Santa Clara University
Research on the impacts of human activity on wildlife behavior is a growing and increasingly necessary field of study. However, many of the species studied are those that live outside the human environment in protected areas and wilderness preserves. Scientific attention to wilderness species often comes at the expense of species that range into and out of human environments and are at the most risk of being heavily impacted by human activity. This project examines the impacts of the human built environment on the behavior of individuals of two Sciurus species; S. carolinensis and S. niger, living on the Santa Clara University campus in Santa Clara, California, from September 2016-March 2017. Behavioral data was collected through instantaneous focal animal sampling on social behavior, diet, activity budget, positional behavior, and substrate use behavior. Activity budget and positional behavior were found to be equivalent between species, but it was found that only about 20% of overall diet was composed of endemic Californian tree species and that only 58% of overall diet was composed of endemic North American tree species, demonstrating significant dietary inclusion in the campus setting.