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     Georgian Bay Population
Team Leaders:

Ron Black, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Jeremy Rouse (member), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Andrew Promaine, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Heritage Canada

Glenda Clayton (advisor), Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve

The Georgian Bay regional population follows the eastern shores of Georgian Bay (from near Port Severn north to Killarney; ca. 4447'-460'N, 790'-830'E), thus falling within the Ontario municipal counties of Simcoe, Muskoka, Parry Sound, and Sudbury. Beyond the Georgian Bay shore, Massasaugas may occur inland as far as ca. 50 km and can also be found on many of the islands in the bay itself (e.g., Beausoleil Island). Massasaugas found between the French River and Killarney may represent the northernmost occurrence (46N) for the species across its entire distribution. Collectively, the Georgian Bay population is larger and occupies a greater area than any other extant regional population in Canada.

While suitable habitat occurs throughout much of the Georgian Bay area, Massasaugas across this region are probably organized in a series of local sub-populations, many of which may be both demographically and genetically isolated (Gibbs et al. 1997). For example, Massasaugas at Killbear Provincial Park are genetically distinct from those at Beausoleil Island (part of Georgian Bay Islands National Park), ca. 50 km to the south. We suspect that these data may be representative of a general pattern of fine-scale genetic structure found in all large regional populations of Massasaugas.

A DVD on Working in Massasauga Habitat is available on-line at the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve web site.

Visit the Georgian Bay Islands National Park's Website

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