Different habitats provide a variety of niches in which organisms can live. These habitats have an influence on what types of animals can be found in certain areas. The objective here is to study mammal diversity in differing habitats in and around Itasca State Park, but concentrating on differences between forest and prairie environments. Six groups of students set up a grid in one of six areas, a bog, an aspen forest, burned and unburned deciduous forest, and burned and unburned red pine forest. Fifty-five traps were set, and all mammals caught were marked and recorded. Sixty-nine mammals were caught in the prairie locations, and 114 mammals were caught in the forest locations. The prairie locations captured eight different species, while the forest locations captured six different species. Three species were common to both locations.
The ‘habitat heterogeneity hypothesis’ is one of the benchmarks for ecology. It considers that complex and structurally different habitats may provide more niches and diverse ways of exploiting the environmental resources, in turn increasing species diversity. In most habitats, plant communities determine the physical structure of the location and have a considerable influence on the distributions and interactions of animal species (J. Tews et al., 2004). The objective in our study is to examine the diversity of small mammals found within various forest habitats within or near Itasca State Park and to compare and contrast those communities with various prairie sites.
Dexter, Sarah; Gasteiger, Autumn.
Diversity Within Small Mammal Communities of Forested Sites Around Itasca State Park and Nearby Prairie Sites.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.