Jones, Holly P.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Biological Sciences
Grasses--Reintroduction||Revegetation--Reintroduction||Prairie plants--Reintroduction||Grassland plants--Reintroduction
The restoration of tallgrass prairies is often centered on reestablishing the native vegetation structure with only minor efforts directed to the fauna that inhabit these areas. The reinstatement of traditional disturbance regimes of fire and grazing bison is a critical component to the active management of tallgrass prairies, and its subsequent effects on both flora and fauna in remnant prairies is well documented. Understanding the role of small mammal populations and how they are affected by varying grazing and fire management strategies can assist in the holistic evaluation of restoration efforts in sites currently undergoing active restoration. Peromyscus and Microtus species play an important role in the upper tropic level dynamics of tallgrass prairie ecosystems through influencing the vegetation structure via herbivory, predating upon seeds and various invertebrate species and as prey for larger fauna. Mark and recapture data has provided a landscape-scale test for how restored tallgrass prairies with different management strategies recover from stressors and disturbances. Abundance and diversity are correlated with more floristically diverse remnant quality sites. Results indicate that there is a specific response for Peromyscus and Microtus species to varying measures of vegetation composition and precipitation in actively restored and managed tallgrass prairies in Illinois. Seasonal fluctuations in the community composition of small mammals is documented at all sites with a varied assemblage occurring within sites that are grazed by bison. Grazing had no impact on species richness, abundance or diversity on the landscape scale. Peromyscus species' apparent survival in this restored network of tallgrass prairie is dependent on time with a varied recapture probability by sex. Logistic regression models provide managers with an equation by which they can estimate the suitability of a given restoration for small mammal diversity and abundance targets though direct environmental measures.
Burke, Angela Marie, "Small mammal responses to bison reintroduction and prescribed fire in one of the world's most threatened ecosystems" (2016). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4936.
v, 75 pages
Northern Illinois University
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