Last year the SDTT entered a partnership with Dr. Andy Bohonak’s lab at SDSU to
collect deer scat from which DNA is extracted for analysis. This study will continue
through 2006, and more volunteers are needed. Tracking experience is not necessary,
and training will be provided, however you will find that your tracking and trailing
skills will improve rapidly when you get involved with this. The challenge is that
the DNA degrades quickly when exposed to the elements, so we need to find deer scat
that is no more than 48 hours old. Once trained, this is something you could do
on your own, though we do encourage people to go out in groups or at least pairs.
Using several different statistical techniques, graduate student Anna Mitelberg
is estimating long-term historic gene flow and comparing it to current movement
patterns. Anna’s study looks at 13 locations focusing on the Peñasquitos/Del Mar
Mesa/Miramar area (but also including MTRP and Hollenbeck Canyon). This is a follow
up to Shea Valero’s thesis in which she used the DNA from mule deer scat to identify
individual animals and trace the gene flow between six locations in San Diego County:
Torrey Pines, Peñasquitos Canyon, Fortuna Mountain, Oak Canyon (MTRP), Hollenbeck
Canyon, and Rancho Jamul.