Hispid cotton rat (sigmodon hispidus) population and behavioral responses to prescribed fire in maritime grasslands
Colbert, Joseph Edward
MetadataShow full item record
Maritime grasslands are a rare and declining habitat that has received little study, and to date, how prescribed fire impacts the wildlife community is unknown. Following a prescribed burn, I monitored cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) bi-monthly over the course of a year using game cameras, and during the summer and winter using live trapping. During summer, biomass did not differ, but in the winter biomass was reduced in burned plots. Camera visitation trends reflected live trapping population estimates, and camera cohort detection ratios were comparable to detection probabilities. According to cameras, survival was comparable between treatments. These results indicate that populations in burn plots were not different in the winter, but may have experienced reduced biomass likely due to sub-lethal behavioral effects resulting from the loss of ground cover following the prescribed burn. Cameras were an effective tool, capable of collecting more data efficiently compared to live trapping.