Effect of Rock Cover on Small Mammal Abundance in a Montana Grassland
Keywords:deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, Sin Nombre virus, retreat sites
AbstractWe examined the influence of rock cover, as an indicator of presumable retreat site availability on the abundance of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and prevalence of Sin Nombre virus (SNV) using long-term live trapping and habitat data from three live trapping grids and a shortterm (three month), spatially replicated study across three slopes in Cascade County, Montana. In our long-term study, we found that deer mice were more abundant at a live-trapping grid with greater rock cover, than two grids with less rock cover. There was a non-significant trend (P = 0.053) for deer mice to be more abundant in rocky sites in the short term study. In the long-term study, average SNV antibody prevalence among deer mice was slightly greater (5.0 vs. 3.5 % on average) at the live trapping grid with more rock cover, than the grid with less rock cover. We were unable to demonstrate differences in SNV antibody prevalence among treatments in the short-term study. Further studies are needed to elucidate the multiple determinants of deer mouse abundance and SNV prevalence in grassland ecosystem and other habitat types.
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial Ecosystems [Articles]