Habitat Variation Impacts Small Mammal Distribution in Eastern Iowa.
Historically, a diverse community of small mammals occurred within Iowa, most of which were associated with the abundant prairies. It is important to examine the impact of ever-decreasing native prairie in Iowa on small mammal communities. We examined the relationship between habitat and small mammal communities at Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area (WCWA), a park at the border of Dubuque, Jackson, and Jones Counties in Iowa. The park totals 419 acres and consists of four different types habitat; native prairie, restored prairie, woodland, and cornfield. The park is surrounded on all sides by corn or soybean fields. Small mammals were trapped every other week on five transects using live-traps baited with peanut butter. Strategically placed pitfall traps supplemented the basic trapping protocol. A total of seven species were captured: white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), western jumping mice (Zapus hudsonicus), meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), eastern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda), and masked shrew (Sorex cinereus). Additionally, 13-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecimlineatus), though never captured in a trap, were regularly spotted on the property; their locations were noted. The presence of eastern moles (Scalopus aquaticus) also was noted wherever encountered. Species richness and species diversity were determined for each transect. Small mammal communities differed for all transects, likely reflecting different habitat preferences for each species. It appears that overall species diversity for the park is enhanced by the maintenance of multiple habitat types.
Citation: Redmond, Kyle .D., Johnson, Megan M., Bainbridge, Elizabeth G.,Cruise, Chelsie E., O’Rourke, Jake M., Kieffer, Lea M., Marr, Shelby L., Zuercher, Gerald L., & Koch, David E. “The Impact of Habitat Variation on Small Mammal Distribution in Eastern Iowa.” Poster presentation for the Chlapaty Research Fellowship Program, University of Dubuque, 2012.