Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Jerry R. Choate

Abstract

In this investigation, I compiled distribution and habitat records for Chaetodipus hispidus, Dipodomys ordii, Perognathus fasciatus, Perognathus flavescens, and Perognathus flavus on the central Great Plains. I more fully described habitat use of these species in this region, and I investigated local patterns of sympatry regarding body size and habitat complexity. I used these data to better explain local and regional distribution patterns among the five rodents. I concluded that these five species coexist regionally because each associated with similar but unique habitat types, soil textures, and climatic schemes within the region. Although primary utilization was distinctive, each species was adaptable with regard to these environmental conditions. Thus, each demonstrated a degree of overlap in a secondary group of these parameters, which seemed to promote local coexistence. However, competition apparently restricted these associations, for locally sympatric species differed in body size more often than expected by chance. Competition was minimized and diversity maximized, however, at a few localities having at least three coexisting species because of macrohabitat and microhabitat mosaics or abundant food resources. Furthermore, evidence suggested that range limits of P. fasciatus, P. flavescens, and P. flavus were affected by interspecifc competition in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. Results also indicated that competition between C. hispidus and Zapus hudsonius may prevent the former species form dispersing east of the Missouri River lowlands.

Rights

Copyright 1998 Robert S. Debaca

Comments

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