Microsite and habitat boundary influences on small mammal capture, diversity, and movements
Root, J. Jeffrey
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Habitat, habitat edges, and microhabitat are important components for theories and concepts of community ecology. However, their effects have not been examined in many locations. Replicated studies in different ecosystems are necessary to determine the generality of the effects of these habitat variables. The effects of trap-site disturbance and microhabitat on small mammal capture rates were examined in the Tularosa Basin of south-central New Mexico during 7-14 April, 1996. The study was conducted in a mixed desert scrub habitat characteristic of the Chihuahuan Desert. Small mammals were live-trapped on 32 study plots. Soil disturbance and microhabitat treatments were assigned to study plots in a completely randomized factorial design to test the hypothesis that trap-site disturbance can influence small mammal captures between microhabitats. Thirteen species of small mammals were captured, including four species of Heteromyidae, eight species of Muridae, and one species of Sciuridae. Peromyscus eremicus was captured more frequently at undisturbed sites (P=0.004) and was recaptured more frequently under shrubs j[P=0.048). Neotoma micropus was captured less frequently at undisturbed sites in the open (P=0.035). No other species were affected by microhabitat, trap-site disturbance, or interactions (P>0.05). These results provide limited support to the hypothesis that trap-site disturbance can influence small mammal captures between microhabitats.