Rodent seed predation and GUDs: effect of burning and topography

TitleRodent seed predation and GUDs: effect of burning and topography
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsReed, AW, Kaufman, GA, Kaufman, DW
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Pagination1279 -1285
Accession NumberKNZ001037

We examined the relationships between seed predation and the habitat into which a seed falls, abundance of rodents within that habitat, and foraging pattern of rodents within that habitat. Using seed plots, we assessed seed predation in burned and unburned tallgrass prairies at biweekly intervals between May and September in 2001 and 2002. Significantly more seed was removed from plots in burned than unburned prairies. Rodent abundance did not differ between burned prairie and unburned prairie, although the abundance of omnivorous–granivorous rodents (herbivores excluded) was greater in burned than unburned prairie. Proportion of seed removed in burned and unburned prairies was independent of both total rodent abundance and abundance of omnivorous–granivorous rodents. We also measured giving-up density (GUD) of rodents in burned and unburned prairies during the spring and summer of 2002. GUDs did not differ significantly in burned and unburned prairies. However, rodents had a higher GUD in uplands than in limestone breaks or lowland habitats. Our results suggest that rodent foraging in tallgrass prairie is affected by microhabitat and that rodent abundance is not sufficient to predict seed predation.