Our experiment looked at the diversity of species within the small communities of forest and prairie sites near and around Itasca State Park. We wanted to see how the species of small mammals varied and was similar to other habitats within the forest sites as well as in prairie sites. We were also looking for possible patterns of certain species dominating one or two habitats over the others as well habitats they wouldn’t be found in at all.
For this experiment we chose six different habitats for both the forest and prairie diversity grids. For the forest diversity grid, we chose a Burned Deciduous, Unburned Deciduous, Burned Red Pine, Unburned Red Pine, Aspen and Bog habitat. For the prairie diversity grid we chose a burned and unburned section of the protected prairie, Frenchman’s Bluff, as well as Waubun Wet and Dry, and the North and South region of Rush.
For each habitat we needed 45 Sherman, five Longworth and five Russian shrew traps. The class split into six groups with three to four students setting up traps for one habitat. Each group set up a 5x10 trap-station grid, which consisted of nine Sherman, one at each trap location, then one Russian and one Longworth trap placed randomly at one of the locations on each line. Each trap station was spaced ten meters apart. We then went back for three consecutive days to check the traps in all six locations and recorded the rodent species found in the traps, marked them by cutting off their toes, and then released them. Two weeks after collecting the traps from the forest sites, the class then split up into two groups and followed all the same procedures for setting up the grid and checking the traps for the six prairie sites.
The Diversity of Small Mammals Within Small Communities of Prairie Sites Near and Forest Sites Around Itasca State Park.
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