The Complex Ecology of the Bear's Butt


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 06 July 2018

 

 

BEAR NEWS

Complex Ecology of the Bear's Butt

Harvests of the Berry-Butt

Berry-gorging bears disperse seeds through scat and feed small mammals,
OSU, July 5, 2018.

 

A Significant Forest Floor Resource
"New research shows that mice and voles scurry to bear scats to forage for seeds, finding nutritional value in the seeds and in some cases further dispersing them."

"...bears are the primary seed dispersers of berry-producing shrubs in Alaska."

Feeding, Fighting, and Fucking

"Not only are small mammals spending months feeding and fighting for the seeds in scats, they’re also scattering the seeds on the landscape, which allows some of the seeds to become future fruiting plants."

Players Scorecard

"Northwestern deer mice made 4,295 total visits to the scats – an average of 8.5 a day. Northern red-backed voles visited 1,099 times at an average of 2.2 times a day."

The Menu

"The team collected bear scats on roads and trails within the study area from July-September in 2014 and 2015 and analyzed the nutritional characteristics found in the 12 species of fruit found in the scats, including gross energy, total dietary fiber, crude protein and crude fat. From those samples, they estimated digestible energy per seed."

Feeding the Masses...

"...a single bear scat contained 73,230 devil’s club seeds, which was capable of meeting the daily energy requirements of 91 deer mice."

Spreading the Wealth

"... the mice appear to scatter-hoard the seeds in much the same way that gray squirrels scatter-hoard acorns...This process is called secondary seed dispersal and forgotten seeds can have much higher survival than unburied seeds."

 

Our Complex Web of Life
Two kinds of Bears, Birds, Berries, and squirrels

 

 

 

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