Ellinor Sahlén, PhD student in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, has wide-ranging research interests, from small-scale animal behaviors to large-scale ecosystem processes. A growing interest within her research is endocrinology and how measurements of stress hormones may determine population health.
Sahlén’s PhD project focuses on the effects of carnivores on moose foraging behavior in forested habitats. Currently, relatively little is known about factors affecting browsing; yet, such information is needed to successfully manage forests and wildlife. Ellinor will combine browsing data with stress level analyses to examine how foraging behavior is related to predator density and moose stress levels. Methods include genetic analyses of moose saliva from browsed twigs and analyses of cortisol levels in moose across geographical ranges with varying densities of predators. She believes the results of her project will contribute to important knowledge of browsing dynamics, but also to the understanding of ungulate response to predation risk; a controversial topic that is rarely addressed in wildlife management today. Sahlén’s project is based in Sweden, and is in collaboration between North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).