PS 78-50 - A small mammal community in a changing landscape in southeastern Virginia, 2005-2011

Friday, August 12, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Jana F. G. Eggleston and Robert K. Rose, Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

In 2005, we began a monitoring program of the small mammal community on an old field site in southeastern Virginia. This site is a part of The Nature Conservancy Stewardship of lands adjacent to the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and a part of a greater wetland habitat restoration plan.  An assortment of trees was planted on the site, drainage was altered, and vegetation succession was allowed to progress.  We hypothesized this small mammal community would change from herbivorous old field species to those of forested wetlands, and that the numerically dominant species would change as succession progressed.  Our study site was an 8x8 grid, with 12.5 m intervals, and with two modified Fitch traps per station.  We trapped for three days each month, averaging 4600 trap nights per year. 


Results to date show the general decline of all old field species, the virtual disappearance of Mus musculus and Oryzomys palustris, stable densities of Reithrodontomys humulis, a shift in dominance from Microtus pennsylvanicus to Sigmodon hispidus, and most recently, the arrival of Peromyscus leucopus, a forest species.

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