2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

The Effects of Mowing and Burning on Rodent Abundance and Its Relationship to Artificial Nest Predation
Jeffrey D. Wright
Dr. Peter Goldman, Faculty Mentor

Grassland bird populations in the United States have been declining in recent years. The Conservation Reserve Program, which pays landowners to keep property unfarmed, was created in part to help bird numbers rebound. Currently most farmers mow their CRP land every few years, but burning has also been tried. Some rodent species prey of the eggs of grassland birds. I hypothesized that rodent abundance and community makeup differed in burned and mowed fields of three different vegetation types. To test this, a mark-release experiment was conducted using an 11 by 11 trap grid that spanned one hectare. The program CAPTURE was used to estimate abundance of the total community and of each genus present in the fields. In general, more Microtus sp. were trapped in mowed fields, while more Peromyscus sp. were trapped in burned fields. The relationships between rodent abundances and depredation of eggs in artificial nests were investigated.

Keywords: rodent abundance, nest predation, marked release, CRP, Peromyscus, Microtus

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 55-2
Location: VH 1432
Time: 4:00

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