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Title: Occurrence and abundance of ants, reptiles, and mammals

Author: Hanser, Steven E.; Leu, Matthias; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Neilsen, Scott E.; Rowland, Mary M.; Knick, Steven T.

Date: 2011

Source: Hanser, S.E.; Leu, M.; Knick, S.T.; Aldridge, C.L., eds. Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming Basins. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press: 221-314. Chapter 7.

Publication Series: Book Chapter

Description: Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) associated wildlife are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation and by impacts associated with anthropogenic disturbances, including energy development. Understanding how species of concern as well as other wildlife including insects, reptiles, and mammals respond to type and spatial scale of disturbance is critical to managing future land uses and identifying sites that are important for conservation. We developed statistical models to describe species occurrence or abundance, based on area searches in 7.29-ha survey blocks, across the Wyoming Basins Ecoregional Assessment (WBEA) area for six shrub steppe-associated species: harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex spp.), thatch ant (Formica spp.), short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi), white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii), cottontail (Sylvilagus spp.) and least chipmunk (Tamius minimus). We modeled patterns in occupancy or abundance relative to multi-scale measures of vegetation type and pattern, abiotic site characteristics, and anthropogenic disturbance factors. Sagebrush habitat was a strong predictor of occurrence for shorthorned lizards and white-tailed jackrabbits, but weak for the other four species. Vegetation and abiotic characteristics were strong determinants of species occurrence, although the scale of response was not consistent among species. All species, with the exception of the short-horned lizard, responded to anthropogenic disturbance, although responses again varied as a function of scale and direction (negative and positive influences). Our results improve our understanding of how environmental and anthropogenic factors affect species distributions across the WBEA area and facilitate a multi-species approach to management of this sagebrush ecosystem.

Keywords: abundance, anthropogenic disturbance, cottontail, habitat, harvester ant, least chipmunk, occurrence, pygmy rabbit, short-horned lizard, thatch ant, white-tailed jackrabbit.

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Citation:


Hanser, Steven E.; Leu, Matthias; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Neilsen, Scott E.; Rowland, Mary M.; Knick, Steven T. 2011. Occurrence and abundance of ants, reptiles, and mammals. In: Hanser, S.E.; Leu, M.; Knick, S.T.; Aldridge, C.L., eds. Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming Basins. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press: 221-314. Chapter 7.

 


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