Event Title

Microhabitat Effects on Small Mammal Distributions in Chuckanut Mountains

Co-Author(s)

Alec Spencer

Research Mentor(s)

John McLaughlin

Description

Small mammals play a vital role in the function of ecosystems, providing services such as seed dispersal, bioturbation, and sources of prey for many organisms. Given the substantial timber harvesting in the Pacific Northwest, understanding the specific effects of habitat characteristics on small mammal distribution is important to identify. In this study, we analyzed the distribution of rodents and soricids in the Chuckanut Mountains of western Washington. We sampled species presence using track stations (n=60) relative to microhabitat structure determined by coarse woody debris, canopy cover, area leaf litter, tree stand height, and understory vegetation cover. We fit logistic regression models to distribution and habitat data, and compared relative importance of habitat characteristics using information theoretic methods. We determined that the presence of both rodent and soricid species was strongly associated with large amounts of coarse woody debris and understory cover and loosely correlated with high leaf litter area. Our study has forestry and wildlife management implications by identifying critical variables for abundant species positioned at the center of the food chain.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

18-5-2017 9:00 AM

End Date

18-5-2017 12:00 PM

Department

Environmental Sciences

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this documentation for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 18th, 12:00 PM

Microhabitat Effects on Small Mammal Distributions in Chuckanut Mountains

Small mammals play a vital role in the function of ecosystems, providing services such as seed dispersal, bioturbation, and sources of prey for many organisms. Given the substantial timber harvesting in the Pacific Northwest, understanding the specific effects of habitat characteristics on small mammal distribution is important to identify. In this study, we analyzed the distribution of rodents and soricids in the Chuckanut Mountains of western Washington. We sampled species presence using track stations (n=60) relative to microhabitat structure determined by coarse woody debris, canopy cover, area leaf litter, tree stand height, and understory vegetation cover. We fit logistic regression models to distribution and habitat data, and compared relative importance of habitat characteristics using information theoretic methods. We determined that the presence of both rodent and soricid species was strongly associated with large amounts of coarse woody debris and understory cover and loosely correlated with high leaf litter area. Our study has forestry and wildlife management implications by identifying critical variables for abundant species positioned at the center of the food chain.