Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1984

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. Eugene Flaherty

Abstract

The small mammal populations of fencerows and crop field borders were sampled in an agricultural-grassland mosaic of west-central Kansas. Farming is a dryland, 3-year rotation of wheat, grain sorghum, and fallow. Two sites were sampled, one on the border of a wheat field and the second on the border of a grain sorghum field. Sampling was conducted from November 1980 to November 1981. Species richness, diversity, and evenness were assessed for each trapping period and contrasted with the same indices obtained from trapping results in the centers of the fields. Seasonal use of habitats was also assessed. Field borders, despite their small areal extent, contained relatively diverse small mammal communities. Peromyscus maniculatus was the most common inhabitant of both the field border and crops and habitats and was the only species trapped in both habitat types during all periods. Relative densities of P. maniculatus peaked during the spring, indicating a possible adjustment of the breeding cycle to coincide with development of factors in the crop fields. Species richness increased in the cropland habitats during the vegetative growth phases of each crop, indicating the carrying capacity of crop fields may be variable. Species other than P. maniculatus appeared to utilize cropfield habitats only on a seasonal or sporadic basis.

Rights

Copyright 1984 Ron Scott Mellott

Comments

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