Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2015

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Biology, PhD

Committee Chair

Eason, Perri

Committee Member

Carreiro, Margaret

Committee Member

Alexander, James

Committee Member

Yanoviak, Steve

Committee Member

Carter, Tim

Author's Keywords

peromyscus leucopus; Lonicera maackii; urban; giving-up density; habitat selection; small mammal

Abstract

White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) select for areas of greater canopy cover at the macro scale, and for areas with more CWD at the micro-scale. White-footed mice potentially avoid habitats with higher invasive species richness. White-footed mice preferentially foraged under the honeysuckle canopy in response to changes in temperature and humidity. This study suggests that the interaction between P. leucopus and ground layer invasive species is complex, and that the effect of moonlight may be diminished in this urban park. Urban ecosystems demonstrate high levels of anthropogenic land-use change, modification of abiotic inputs, and altered disturbance regimes. These changes result in reduced native biodiversity and increased presence of invasive species. Urban parks often serve as reserves for more sensitive native species, helping to preserve native biodiversity through mitigation of anthropogenic effects. Understanding what changes affect these urban parks, how the vegetative community responds, and how species (small mammals in particular) modify their behaviors to persist in these areas will increase our ability to manage urban areas for maximum biodiversity. This research project took place in Twin Parks, a forested bottomland urban park. Chapter 1 assesses the habitat at a macro scale, determining what elements of the vegetative community, vertical structure, and environment contribute to patterns of white-footed mouse capture. Chapter 2 assesses habitat selection at a microhabitat scale, examining how P. leucopus uses the invasive Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Chapter 3 examines P. leucopus anti-predator responses in relation to coarse woody debris (CWD) and honeysuckle canopy cover using Giving-Up-Density trials.

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