Kangaroo Rat Foraging In Proximity to a Colony of Reintroduced Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/560811
Title:
Kangaroo Rat Foraging In Proximity to a Colony of Reintroduced Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs
Author:
Fulgham, Kirsten Marie
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
A majority of the arid grasslands in the western U.S. have been dramatically altered by anthropogenic influences resulting in degradation and desertification. Within the arid grasslands of North America a guild of burrowing herbivorous rodents that includes kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.) and prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) is often considered integral to arid grassland maintenance. As part of the larger guild of burrowing herbivorous rodents, kangaroo rats are considered to be an important keystone guild whose role as ecosystem engineers and habitat modifiers complements that of prairie dogs. Together these species organize and structure arid grassland ecosystems and the biodiversity therein, by providing a mosaic of microhabitat patches, thus increasing overall heterogeneity. In an area where black-tailed prairie dogs (C. ludovicianus) were reintroduced, I used Giving-up Density (GUD) to assess the indirect effects black-tailed prairie dogs might have on the foraging patterns of resident kangaroo rats (D. spectabilis and D. merriamii). My objective was to compare and contrast kangaroo rat foraging GUD within and along the boundary of a on a recently established black-tailed prairie dog colony with that in the surrounding unmodified native habitat. This enabled assessment of whether black-tailed prairie dogs had an influence on the perceived quality of the habitat by kangaroo rats. Kangaroo rats visited off-colony feeding trays more frequently, and collected a greater mean mass of seed per tray as well. This indicates that the kangaroo rats perceived the area off the prairie dog colony as having a lower foraging cost than on the colony or along the colony edge. I conclude that from the perspective of the seed-eating kangaroo rat, the colony is not viewed as high quality habitat. What impact the reintroduction and management of one keystone species might have on another keystone species deserves additional consideration as we attempt to restore arid grassland ecosystems.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Keywords:
black-tailed prairie dog; foraging costs; giving-up density; kangaroo rat; reintroduced; Natural Science for Teachers; arid grasslands
Degree Name:
M.S.
Degree Level:
masters
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Natural Science for Teachers
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Koprowski, John L.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleKangaroo Rat Foraging In Proximity to a Colony of Reintroduced Black-Tailed Prairie Dogsen_US
dc.creatorFulgham, Kirsten Marieen
dc.contributor.authorFulgham, Kirsten Marieen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractA majority of the arid grasslands in the western U.S. have been dramatically altered by anthropogenic influences resulting in degradation and desertification. Within the arid grasslands of North America a guild of burrowing herbivorous rodents that includes kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.) and prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) is often considered integral to arid grassland maintenance. As part of the larger guild of burrowing herbivorous rodents, kangaroo rats are considered to be an important keystone guild whose role as ecosystem engineers and habitat modifiers complements that of prairie dogs. Together these species organize and structure arid grassland ecosystems and the biodiversity therein, by providing a mosaic of microhabitat patches, thus increasing overall heterogeneity. In an area where black-tailed prairie dogs (C. ludovicianus) were reintroduced, I used Giving-up Density (GUD) to assess the indirect effects black-tailed prairie dogs might have on the foraging patterns of resident kangaroo rats (D. spectabilis and D. merriamii). My objective was to compare and contrast kangaroo rat foraging GUD within and along the boundary of a on a recently established black-tailed prairie dog colony with that in the surrounding unmodified native habitat. This enabled assessment of whether black-tailed prairie dogs had an influence on the perceived quality of the habitat by kangaroo rats. Kangaroo rats visited off-colony feeding trays more frequently, and collected a greater mean mass of seed per tray as well. This indicates that the kangaroo rats perceived the area off the prairie dog colony as having a lower foraging cost than on the colony or along the colony edge. I conclude that from the perspective of the seed-eating kangaroo rat, the colony is not viewed as high quality habitat. What impact the reintroduction and management of one keystone species might have on another keystone species deserves additional consideration as we attempt to restore arid grassland ecosystems.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen
dc.subjectblack-tailed prairie dogen
dc.subjectforaging costsen
dc.subjectgiving-up densityen
dc.subjectkangaroo raten
dc.subjectreintroduceden
dc.subjectNatural Science for Teachersen
dc.subjectarid grasslandsen
thesis.degree.nameM.S.en
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineNatural Science for Teachersen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorKoprowski, John L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberArcher, Steven R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberElfring, Lisa K.en
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