Date of Graduation

Summer 2017

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Sean Maher

Keywords

National Park Service, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, habitat management, monitoring, invasive, small mammal, occupancy, white-footed mouse

Subject Categories

Population Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Zoology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to aid the National Park Service at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield with the reported habitat monitoring and management goals through vegetation and wildlife surveys within the park. I provided a description of two major habitat types that are of ecological concern, which included non-native ruderal grasslands and upland deciduous woodlands and forests. I evaluated small mammal communities to determine factors that may affect the detection of individual species and examined habitat associations with occupancy, as small mammals are good indicators of habitat quality. My study highlights the need to manage invasive species such as Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), and Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). Small mammal detectability was influenced by temperature, precipitation, nightly sky illumination, and Julian date, and occupancy was influenced by patch size, vegetation composition and micro-habitat structure. Further monitoring of small mammals could improve habitat associations and account for dynamic population fluctuations. Additionally, the dominance of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) in the forests may have implications in disease ecology if stands are not managed within this fragmented landscape.

Copyright

© Stephanie Anne Ellison

Open Access

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