It has been shown from previous studies that Geomys bursarius (plains pocket gopher) can have both short and long term affects on vegetation associated with their mounds. Our goal was to observe some of the effects of the plains pocket gophers on vegetation in their habitat. To see the effects of gopher mounds we took random samples of unique vegetative patches, surveyed random transects for mounds, and assessed plant diversity on gopher mounds compared to control plots in an abandoned farm field near Itasca Stat Park, MN. Our data was compared to findings of previous studies of the same area. We found that 77% of unique vegetation was associated with mounds while 23% was not. Mounds covered 9.8% of the field and had an average of 6.7 different species of plants compared with 3.18 in control plots. From our data and a comparative analysis of the previous research, we concluded that mounding by gophers does have both short and long term effects on prairie vegetation and its diversity.
Harren, Steven; Gasteiger, Autumn; Kalmoe, Molly.
Quantitative and qualitative effects of Plains Pocket Gopher (Geomys bursarius) mound building on grassland vegetation in northwestern Minnesota..
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