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Title: Correlates of microhabitat use and density of Clethrionomys gapperi and Peromyscus keeni in temperate rain forests of Southeast Alaska.

Author: Smith, Winston P.; Gende, Scott M.; Nichols, Jeffrey V.;

Date: 2005

Source: Acta Zoologica Sinica. 51(6): 973-988

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We studied red-backed vole Clethrionomys gapperi and Keen' s mouse Peromyscus keeni populations in the Alexander Archipelago to test predictions regarding habitat relations in temperate rain forest of southeastern Alaska during August - September 1998 and 2000 and April - May 1999 and 2000. We measured 26 vegetative and structural features to correlate abundance among and microhabitat use within gap-phase old growth, multi-cohort old growth, pre-commercially thinned young (23-yr-old) growth, and peatland mixed-conifer forests ... Populations of both species were higher in 1998 than 1999 and 2000. Both species used microhabitats randomly in 1998, but were highly selective in 1999 - 2000. Correlates of microhabitat use varied between seasons and among habitats, but C. gapperi captures were most often positively correlated with the percent cover of deciduous shrubs in the understory. Microhabitats used by P. keeni had less moss cover on the forest floor, but in gap-phase were directly related to the probability of capturing a C. gapperi. Density of both species during both seasons was directly correlated with decayed downed wood in the understory. Density of P. keeni in spring explained 62% of the variation in C. gapperi density, which in turn explained 89% of the variation in P. keeni density. Our results corroborate the findings of earlier studies that P. keeni in southeastern Alaska flourishes in a variety of habitats, especially early seral forests; but, departed from the general conclusion that C. gapperi populations in western landscapes achieve their highest densities in late-seral coniferous forests. Unlike populations elsewhere in northwestern North America, C. gapperi may be able to persist in rain forest patches where the overstory has been removed. Peatland mixed-conifer forest contributed little to breeding populations of C. gapperi or P. keeni and thus is unlikely to mitigate any impacts of broad-scale clearcut logging of productive old-growth rainforests.

Keywords: Alexander Archipelago, Clethrionomys gapperi, density, ecological correlates, habitat distribution, microhabitat use, Peromyscus keeni, population ecology, Southeast Alaska, temperate rain forest, Wrangell Island

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Smith, Winston P.; Gende, Scott M.; Nichols, Jeffrey V. 2005. Correlates of microhabitat use and density of Clethrionomys gapperi and Peromyscus keeni in temperate rain forests of Southeast Alaska. Acta Zoologica Sinica. 51(6): 973-988


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