Animals who are morphologically similar and therefore require similar resources have a high probability of interaction throughout the day. The American beaver (Castor canadensis), North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), and muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) all reside within the same ecosystem and compete for similar resources including trees and water space. My goal was to observe how the potential overlap in daily activity patterns effect interactions among these three species, thus I predicted that the American beaver and the North American porcupine will have little to no overlap between their activity patterns while the muskrat will overlap with both as a result of crepuscular activity. Using data from the Snapshot USA camera trapping project, I performed a Chi Square analysis determining that each species demonstrated a nocturnal activity pattern with the majority of activity between 11:09 pm and 6:06 am. The results of this study can help to preserve an American keystone species, the American beaver, who is known for increasing biodiversity and acting as an ecosystem engineer throughout much of North America.
Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences
Dr. Diana Lafferty
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Green, Raquel I., "Variation of activity patterns of American beaver, North American porcupine, and muskrat" (2021). Celebration of Student Scholarship. 13.