Identifier

etd-0407103-142502

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Reducing predator populations in the prairie pothole region can greatly increase nest success of both over water and upland nesting ducks. However, little is understood about impacts of predator removal on other wildlife within the same area. I conducted a field experiment to test whether small mammals, primarily mice (Peromyscus sp.) and voles (Microtus sp.), responded to seasonally reduced predator abundance. I compared small mammal abundance on 10 experimental (259 ha) sites in North Dakota during 2001 and 2002 with intensive, seasonal predator trapping with 10 control sites (259 ha) also monitored in both years. Small mammals were more abundant on sites where predators had been removed (F3,132= 44.45, P<0.001), suggesting that small mammals responded numerically to an absence of medium-sized carnivores. However, levels of small mammals were comparable in both springs, suggesting that enlarged populations of rodents in summer and early fall were not sustained through winter. I also observed a strong positive relationship between small mammal abundance and duck nest success (r = 0.84, P = 0.002 in 2001; r= 0.82, P = 0.004 in 2002), suggesting a possible buffer effect small mammals may have on predation of waterfowl nest.

Date

2003

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Frank Rohwer

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