We determined the diet contributions of grasses, forbs and shrubs for three herds of bighorn sheep along the Wasatch Front, Utah using stable isotope techniques and determined the electivity values for different forage species for four herds. Forbs were generally the most common forage eaten across all herds while shrubs were the least used forage resource. The Provo Peak and Mount Nebo herds used grasses, forbs and shrubs at proportions similar to other bighorn sheep populations across the west, while the Antelope Island herd used forbs at higher levels than any other local herd. Additionally, the herd on Antelope Island was analyzed to compare differential use by rams and ewes. Our results indicate that there was no significant difference in diet between sexes on Antelope Island. Bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) was a common species across all sites and was an important forage for all populations. Managers may consider these proportions when seeding in bighorn habitat improvement projects.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Whitaker, Joshua M., "Diet Reconstruction of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Using Stable Isotopes" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 2328.
bighorn sheep, stable isotopes, habitat improvement