School of the Environment

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Wildlife Habitat Lab

The Wildlife Habitat and Nutrition Laboratory

The Department of Natural Resource Science's "Wildlife Habitat and Nutrition Lab", has been in operation since 1978. Established by Dr. Jack Nelson (faculty director), the lab is directed by the department chairman, Dr. Keith A. Blatner, and is operated under the supervision of Bruce Davitt (Research Technologist Supervisor). The lab maintains a self - sustaining budget and pays for all other wages, salaries, benefits, equipment, maintenance, supplies (goods and services), computer and travel expenses.

The Unit

  • Principally performs laboratory services on a contract basis for state, federal, and private natural resource agencies throughout the country.
  • Assists in some of the department faculty's research efforts and conducts its own nutrition research.
  • Provides training and part-time employment for students while they pursue their degree.
  • Conducts tours of the lab and deer /elk research facilities for various visiting groups and classes.
  • Cooperates with other departments in allowing use of lab equipment otherwise unavailable to these researchers and their students.

The lab determines the food habits of both domestic livestock and wildlife and performs chemical analyses on plants eaten by those animals (protein, fat, fiber, ash, calories, digestibility). Controlled feeding trials have been conducted using sheep, cattle and mule deer to determine how well these animals digest and utilize diets of different composition and nutritional quality. The intent is to develop methods for predicting the nutritional well-being of free-ranging animals.

Research and Contract Work

On-campus research and off-campus contract work has involved the following:

  • Domestic Livestock

    Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Feral Horses, Pigs
  • Upland Birds

    Turkey, Ptarmigan, Snow Geese, Spruce Grouse, Sharptail Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Mountain Quail
  • Small Mammals

    Muskrat, Chipmunk (yellow pine), Deer Mouse, Nutria, River Otter, Beaver, Mountain Beaver, Lemming, Red-backed and Tundra Voles, Arctic Hare, Pocket Gophers
  • Marsupials
    Ringtail Possums, Greater Gliders, Bandicoot, Bettongs
  • Ungulates

    Elk, Deer, Reindeer, Moose, Caribou, Muskoxen, Bison, Pronghorn, Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep
  • Carnivores

    Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Coyote, Mountain Lion
  • Other

    Grasshoppers, Army Cutworm Moths, Hornets, Anchovy, Smelt Herring, Rhinoceros, Silver Leaf Langur Monkey, Francois Langurs, Victoria Crowned Pigeon, a 16,000 yr. old Wooly Mammoth discovered frozen in the Alaskan tundra

 

Contact Us

For more information, contact Bruce Davitt:
(509) 335-2318
b_b_davitt@wsu.edu

The Wildlife Habitat Lab does analysis on diet and nutrition

for a full description of services and prices please click here.

School of the Environment, PO Box 642812, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2812, 509-335-3009, Contact Us