Master's Theses

Department

Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Abstract

A capture- recapture study was conducted in an ungrazed mixed- grass pasture to determine if a mowed strip (6 m wide) would serve as a barrier to movement of small rodents and thereby alter the animals' home range. The three species studied were the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), the hispid pocket mouse (Perognathus hispidus), and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). The center of activity and distance from points of capture to the center of activity were calculated for each animal. Home range was determined by the exclusive boundary strip method and by using the value of two sigma to represent the radius of a circular home range. These data were used to compare the home range site of each animal before and after mowing to determine if a shift in location had occurred. ~lthou9h no shift in home range was detected for the nine animals studied and eight were caught in traps on both sides of the mowed strip, home ranges for hispid pocket mice and deer mice decreased in size. Cover, in the form of standing vegetation and litter, frequently is cited as a necessity for optimal rodent habitat in grassland communities (Elton, 1939; Eadie, 1953: LoBue and Darnell, 1959; Birney et al., 1976; Grant et al., 1982) Good cover provides a source of food, affords protection from potential predators, serves as a buffer against the physical environment, and reduces intraspecific competition (Elton, 1939; Birney et al., 1976). To assess the role that cover plays in promoting or hindering daily movements of rodents in the mixed grassland, an experiment was devised to determine whether removal of cover by mowing a 6 m wide strip through an animal's established home range would disrupt the animal's normal travels and alter the size or location of its home range.

Advisor

Dr. Eugene Flaherty

Date of Award

Summer 1983

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Rights

© 1983 Sherry Rogers Watts

Comments

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