Dr. Donald Spalinger
Dr. Don Spalinger's research focuses on the ecology, chemistry, and physiology of plants and herbivores. Spalinger is particularly interested in the nutritional ecology of large herbivores in northern ecosystems, including moose, caribou, and black-tailed deer. To understand how habitats and plant communities influence the survival and productivity of these animals, Spalinger's research explores a diversity of topics. These include studies of nutritional qualities of plants, plant defensive chemistry, plant architecture and its influence on foraging behavior and food intake rate of herbivores, the digestive physiology of herbivores, foraging behavior, and biological simulation modeling.
Moose Habitat Capacity Measurement - This is a collaborative project with Dr. Tom Hanley (US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Experiment Station, Juneau, AK) and Dr. Kenrick Mock (Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage). Spalinger and his collaborators are developing web-based applications for the determination of carrying capacity of habitats to support large herbivores, based on nutritional needs of the animals, and the availability and nutritional quality of their foods. To date, they have completed a web-based model for determination of carrying capacity for Sitka Black-tailed Deer in Alaska (FRESH-DEER), and are currently working on an equivalent model for moose in Alaska.