Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Erik A Hobbie


Given limited knowledge of the food sources of Arctic ground squirrels, an important arctic prey species, it is difficult to predict the implications of changes in food source availability that could result from climate change. I hypothesized that Arctic ground squirrels at two colonies, Atigun and Toolik, would have similar feeding habits and mushrooms would contribute to their diet The Arctic ground squirrels at Toolik had significantly higher del15N (3.7 per mill difference) and del13C values (1.3 per mill difference) than those at Atigun. Mixing models indicated that the signatures observed in the Atigun hair could result from a combination of several foods. The relatively high isotope values of the Toolik hair indicated that squirrels there are feeding on a food source with higher isotope values than most of the sampled vegetation. Mushrooms could provide a proportional contribution between 0.09 and 0.60 to the diet of Toolik squirrels.