ABSTRACT

Despite the importance of the Parelaphostrongylus tenuis infection for moose (Alces alces) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) management, only one peer-reviewed study has evaluated the relationship between deer and moose densities and the potential for parasite-mediated competition between the species. Using polynomial-regression modeling, that study identified a deer-density threshold above which moose populations declined; however, the nature of the data and apparent outliers suggests the approach used to develop that threshold may not have been appropriate. We used the data from the original study to test whether alternative models, including linear models and negative binomial models would be less sensitive to outliers and could better explain that relationship. We found no evidence that moose density decreases as deer density increases. We concluded that, although the proposed moose-deer–P. tenuis relationship could be partially density dependent, additional factors, such as frequency dependence of disease transmission, gastropod abundance, and shared use of resources by moose and deer should also be considered.

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