Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2007
Publication Date: 4/9/2007
Citation: Campanella, A., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Roemer, G., Peters, D.C. 2007. Rodent community landscape ecology in grassland-shrubland ecotones and gradients in the Chihuahuan Desert [abstract]. 22nd Annual Symposium of United States Regional Chapter of International Association of Landscape Ecology, April 9-11, 2007, Tucson, Arizona. p. 21.
Technical Abstract: It is believed that the abundance and diversity of Chihuahuan Desert rodents increases with shrub encroachment accompanying desertification although grassland specialist species decline with loss of perennial grasses. It has been reported, however, that rodent population responses to spatial variation in habitat are mediated by a complex suite of biotic-abiotic interactions. The consistency of such patterns across a landscape has not been examined. We tested the hypothesis that rodent richness, biomass, and density/abundance were highest in shrub-dominated portions of replicate grassland-shrubland ecotones and across a grassland-shrubland gradient. Rodents were trapped on permanent grids scattered over an area of 200 km2. Mark-recapture procedures were used to estimate population density and the software eCognition to estimate landscape structure using an object-oriented spatial analysis approach. We found that rodent abundance, biomass, and species composition were highly variable and related to the details of vegetation structure across the landscape, rather than being simply positively correlated with shrub cover.