Christina Teter

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara Johnstone-Yellin

Degree Award Date

Fall 2014


deer exclosures, fiber content of plants


Agriculture | Animal Sciences | Biology


When deer selectively over-browse plants, it tends to reduce the amount of plant species present. This, in turn, affects the composition and distribution of the local fauna. We hypothesized that a deer exclosure would enable the enclosed plants to develop higher fiber content, making them unpalatable to deer. As a consequence, the deer would no longer consume those plants once the exclosure was removed. This would ensure adequate diversity of both the flora and fauna. To test this hypothesis, we collected plant samples from corresponding exclosure and control plots and sorted them by functional group. We then performed sequential fiber analysis and analyzed the data statistically. A majority of the corresponding samples were not statistically different. This may be because the exclosures have not been erected long enough to allow a significant difference in the fiber contents; however, some samples had higher fiber content in the exclosure while others were higher in the control. This may be due to variations in the fiber content of different species within the same functional group and a differential representation of these species in our exclosure and control samples. Regardless, further experimentation is required to enable a better conclusion.