Determine temporal and spatial variability in occurrence of rodent and shrew taxa and general assemblages of small mammals through tallgrass prairie and shrubland habitats on the Konza LTER as well as to determine the effects of long-term climate fluctuations, occurrence of fire, and frequency of fire, on distribution, abundance, richness, and diversity of communities of small mammals. Additionally, determine changes in genetic diversity of both small mammal populations and their associated ecto- and endo-parasites (including macro- and micro-parasites/pathogens) that will expand knowledge of community assembly, turnover, and interdependency of associated species in response to major environmental drivers.
Location of sampling stations: Ungrazed, annual burn: 001D; Ungrazed, 4 yr. burn: 004B, 004F; Ungrazed, unburned: 020B; Ungrazed annual 'seasonal' burn: SpB, SuB; Ungrazed reversal burn: R1A, R20A
Frequency of sampling: All sites are sampled in summer (June through August) at least two months following spring burning. Two linear transects occur within each of eight treatment watersheds, one for catch-and-release sampling, and one for specimen removal and archive. Transects for catch-and-release or removal were initially chosen randomly, but kept constant across years. Sampling consists of one period of four concurrent nights of trapping per linear transect per year. Four transects are sampled at once (40 traps per transect, totaling 160 total traps) for four consecutive sampling periods (total 16 transects sampled per year). Sampling periods alternate between four catch-and-release transects and four removal transects. Groups of four transects were chosen randomly, but thereafter groups are sampled consistently across years, and in the same order each year.
Variables measured: Numbers of individuals for each species of small mammal captured are recorded on each trapline. Sex, reproductive condition and capture location of each individual are recorded at each capture. Age, based on pelage characteristics, is recorded at each capture. Body mass and measurements of individuals are recorded at first capture in each trapping period. Each capture on catch-and-release transects is provided a unique ear tag number. Each capture on removal transects is euthanized according to accepted and permitted protocols (IACUC permit #3579; Sikes et al., 2016: Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild mammals in research and education). Resulting specimens are processed through standardized procedures (Hope et al. In Prep) to retrieve all ecto-parasites, endo-parasites, tissues preserved for genetic analyses, study skins, skeletal material, internal reproductive condition, and tissues preserved for isotopic analyses. All specimens are preserved in perpetuity, with all associated parts, in the Museum of Southwestern Biology, or the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Methods: Traplines: Small mammals are trapped on two permanent linear transects in each of eight treatment units. Each transect consists of 20 stations with an inter-station distance of 15 m and terminal stations (1 and 20) at least 50 m from the boundary of the treatment unit. When possible, each transect was placed so that station 1 was in upland (shallow soil) and station 20 in lowland prairie (deeper soil), and so the two transects within a treatment unit would include about 16 stations in upland, 8 stations across limestone outcrops and 16 stations in lowland. Because of the topographic goals, the two transects within a treatment unit are not replicates of each other and the topographic goals were not always achieved. Stations 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 on each transect are marked with tall stakes of galvanized conduit ad other stations are marked with short stakes. All stations are marked with fluorescent orange plastic surveyor flags at least once per year.
Trapping Procedures: Small mammals are trapped for 4 consecutive nights per transect during each trapping period. Two large Sherman live traps (7.6 by 8.9 by 22.9 cm) are placed within 1 m of the surveyor flag or conduit at each station. Traps are baited with a small amount (~2tbsp) cracked (non-viable) oats. All traps are set in the evening within two hours of dusk, and checked early each morning, but after the end of the nocturnal activity period. Four traplines are run simultaneously.
Form of data output: See Metadata summary for CSM08 and example datasheet.
For additional metadata information see: http://lter.konza.ksu.edu/sites/default/files/DC.pdf
For additional methods information see: http://lter.konza.ksu.edu/sites/default/files/MM.pdf