Several different species of native and introduced ungulates are supported on the arid rangelands of the Great Basin. The interactions between ungulate species have been studied in other parts of the United States, but not in Nevada. Results of previous studies suggest that competition between species is greatest in an arid environment and in areas with low plant productivity. Both situations are present in Nevada, potentially intensifying competition between species and minimizing facilitation. The interaction between species is causing concern among multiple stakeholders.
This proposal focuses on one of the main issues of concern; the effect of the increasing elk (Cervus elaphus) population on other ungulate species, particularly cattle and mule deer. Our study will provide data on overlap in ecological requirements between a range of wild and domestic ungulates. It will provide the first quantitative investigation of this overlap in northern Nevada, and will enable us to continue in a long-term investigation of these issues, which are of interest to a variety of stakeholders.