Chapter 9: Occurrence of small mammals: Deer mice and challenge of trapping across large spatial extents

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Small mammal communities living in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) may be sensitive to habitat isolation and invasion by exotic grass species. Yet there have been no spatially explicit models to improve our understanding of landscape-scale factors determining small mammal occurrence or abundance. We live-trapped small mammals at 186 locations in the Wyoming Basin Ecoregional Assessment area to develop species distribution (habitat) models for each species. Most small mammal species (n = 14) were trapped at a only few locations. As a result, we developed a small mammal model only for the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Deer mice were associated with areas having moderately productive habitat as measured by Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), increased grassland land cover, contagion of sagebrush land cover, and proximity to intermittent water. The proportion of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) within 0.27 km, proportion of mixed shrubland within 5 km, soil clay content, and proximity to pipelines were inversely related to the occurrence of deer mice. Understanding habitat characteristics for deer mice helps our overall understanding of the ecological processes within sagebrush habitats because deer mice act as predator, prey, competitor, and disease reservoir. Development of the empirical data necessary for spatially explicit habitat modeling of small mammal distributions at large spatial extents requires an extensive trapping effort in order to obtain enough observations to construct models, calculate robust detectability estimates, and overcome issues such as trap shyness and population cycling.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Chapter 9: Occurrence of small mammals: Deer mice and challenge of trapping across large spatial extents
Chapter 9
ISBN 978-0-615-55530-0
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Allen Press
Publisher location Lawrence, Kansas
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Fort Collins Science Center
Description 20 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: Ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming Basins
First page 337
Last page 356
Public Comments The U.S. Geological Survey has been given express permission by the publisher to provide full-text access online for this publication, and is posted with the express permission from the Publications Warehouse Guidance Subcommittee
Country United States
State Wyoming
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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