CSM03 Seasonal summary of numbers of small mammals on the two LTER traplines in planted grassland (Brome fields) habitats at Konza Prairie


Data set contains seasonal summaries (spring, summer and autumn) of the number of individuals of each species of small mammal captured (relative abundance) on each woodland trapline. Each record contains year, season, trapline and number of individuals captured of each species. These live trap records are based on daily captures during a single 4-day trapping period in spring (early March to early April), summer (early July to late July) and autumn (mid-October to early December) for each of four permanent traplines established in two habitats (two traplines in gallery forest and two on limestone ledges). Bison did not graze any of the treatment units during the period of study.

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Location of Sampling Stations: Ungrazed brome fields: N01A (BrS), K04A (BrN)

Frequency of Sampling: Both sites were sampled in autumn (mid-October to mid-November), spring (early March to mid-April) and summer (early July to early August).

Variable Measured: Numbers of individuals for each species of small mammal captured were recorded on each trapline. Sex, reproductive condition and capture location of each individual were recorded at each capture. Age, based on pelage characteristics, was recorded for the two species of Peromyscus at each capture. Body mass of an individual was recorded only at the first capture in each trapping period.

Methods: Traplines: Small mammals were trapped on two permanent traplines in planted brome fields near Kings Creek. Each trapline consisted 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. Stations 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 on each trapline were marked with stakes of galvanized conduit. All stations were marked with fluorescent orange plastic surveyor flags at least once per year.

Trapping Procedures: Small mammals were trapped for 4 consecutive nights per trapline during each trapping period. Two large Sherman live traps (7.6 by 8.9 by 22.9 cm) were placed within 1 m of the surveyor flag or conduit at each station. Traps were baited with a mixture of high-quality creamy peanut butter (e.g., Jif) and oatmeal (Quaker old-fashioned oatmeal) in spring and autumn. The mixture was rolled into a small ball (1.5-2.0 cm in diameter) and wrapped in a 10-cm square of weighing paper. The bait was suspended in the trap by closing the back door of the trap on the twisted end of the weighing paper. In the summer trapping period, peanut butter was placed on the inside of the back door of the trap. Polyester fiberfill (5 g) was compressed by a #8 rubber band and used as nesting material in each trap in spring and autumn sampling periods. This nesting material reduced trap mortality in inclement weather. With the nest material and a large amount of bait in each trap, mammals typically were in good condition at the time that trap were checked in all types of weather. In the event that greater than pr equal to 50% of the traps were closed overnight without an individual captured (e.g., due to raccoons running the traplines and setting off traps), traps were set for additional nights until less than 50% of traps per night were closed without captures on that trapline. In the event that raccoon disturbances occurred multiple nights within a trapping period, large animal wire-cage traps were set for the raccoons, and when captured, the raccoons were moved out of the area to other wooded habitats on Konza Prairie, so that the trapping period could be completed.

All traps were checked early each morning, but after the end of the nocturnal activity period. Both traplines were run simultaneously. Species, sex and reproductive condition of individual small mammals, trap station and any unusual features (e.g., the presence of ticks, fleas or bot fly larvae, variation in color pattern such as stars or blazes) were recorded at first and subsequent captures of an individual in each trapping period. Body mass was recorded during the first capture of an individual on a trapline. Individuals were toe-clipped (less than or equal to 1 digit removed per foot) at their first capture so that individuals could be uniquely identified within and across trapping periods. Reproductive information recorded for males was the presence or absence of scrotal testes. Pregnancy was determined by palpation of the abdomen of females; no effort was made to assess the number of embryos. Presence or absence of conspicuous mammae also was recorded. Conspicuous mammae indicated that the female had been reproductively active and had nursed offspring. Individuals were weighed to nearest 0.5 g for those weighing less than or equal to 50 g and nearest 1 g for those weighing greater than 50 g by using Pesola balances of an appropriate size.

Form of Data Output: The total number of mammals captured by species by trapline forms the database CSM03.

Summary of All Changes up to 1988: Bison did not graze any of the treatment units during the duration of the study. The south brome trapline was burned in spring 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987, whereas the north brome trapline was burned in spring 1980 and 1985. No changes were made to the methods during the study period.

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