Effects of landscape elements on population densities, habitat utilization, home ranges, and movements of three small mammal species
Mabry, Karen Elizabeth
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The effects of landscape fragmentation on plant and animal populations have become more important with increasing human influence on landscapes, however, little research has focused on use of the entire landscape, including patch, corridor, and matrix habitats. This study addresses the effects of corridors and habitat enrichment in an experimentally fragmented landscape on population densities, home range sizes, and movement patterns of the cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus), cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus), and old-field mouse (P. polionotus). Small mammal populations were monitored by livetrapping and radio-telemetry. Neither corridors nor habitat enrichment had a significant effect on population densities or home range sizes of any species. Relative use of patch interiors, edges, and corridors was assessed. Cotton rats were trapped within corridors more often than expected, while cotton mice and old-field mice were trapped within patch interiors more often. Cotton mice and old-field mice were more likely to emigrate from connected than isolated patches.