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Limitations to the northernmost distribution of Virginia opossums

Duration

December 2000 - September 2008

Narrative

Limitations to the distribution of a species are poorly understood, though this information is critical to understanding the abundance and distribution of organisms. We examined the biophysical limits to the northernmost distribution of Virginia opossums, by examining conditions near Amherst, Massachusetts, where opossums recently expanded their range.
In combination with energetic modeling, we have shown that opossums are only able to exist in the Amherst region if they are near human developments where the microclimate is moderated, and food availability is increased. Our findings are useful in understanding how opossums have been able to successfully expand their range as far north as Canada, and have applications to predicting range expansions under global warming scenarios.

 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 11

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 64

Scientific Publications: 28

Presentations: 135

 

Personnel

Funding Agencies

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst

Links

Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. University of Massachusetts
  6. Wildlife Management Institute