Our goal was to elucidate the effects of demographic collapse on metapopulation function by using 11 microsatellites markers to quantify differences in patterns of connectivity and genetic diversity between a demographically stable metapopulation and one in severe demographic decline.
The objectives of my study were to examine the impacts of forest management practices on movements, home range, and habitat use and to determine genetic structure and levels of gene flow within and among Allegheny woodrat populations.
Examples from the literature suggest that (1) introduced pathogens can make abundant species rare and (2) diseases of domestic animals can dramatically affect rare species. For both scenarios, conditions that cause stress or reduce genetic variation may increase susceptibility to disease, whereas crowding and cross-species contact can increase transmission.
Several hypotheses have been proposedfor the decline in N. magister, but little information on the ecology of the species is available to direct conservation efforts. Using a multi-scale approach, we compared recent microhabitat and landscape characteristics among historical, occupied, and reference sites to pre-1960 versus post-1985 landscape characteristics associated with historical woodrat sites.
Landscape variables were employed as indices of habitat heterogeneity, fragmentation, and human influence on the environment to characterize constituent units of a 635 km^2 grid covering the state of Pennsylvania. Species richness was determined by overlaying the distributions of all 60 terrestrial mammalian species found within the state.
To evaluate the assertion that range-wide woodrat declines have been caused by a concatenate of stressors, we used principal component (PC) analysis to identify latent relationships among a suite of biological and ecological factors (reflecting those stressors listed above) and evaluated PC scores relative to the three conservation states of woodrat populations in Indiana (stable, diminished and extirpated).
Low-density groups of Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma floridana magister) confined in a 65-m^2 cage exhibited despotic social organization in which one alpha rat killed or wounded all other group members within 14 days in each of five experiments.
We studied two captive Allegheny Woodrats in order to observe their typical nocturnal habits and mating behavior. They spent most of their time (63%) resting and sleeping. The next greatest amount of time was spent exploring and grooming (10.3%), followed by feeding (9.6%) and, finally, defecating (1.5%). Their mating habits include sexual chases, boxing, and multiple matings over a short period of time. The pair mated many times without the female necessarily becoming pregnant.
This study describes the first systematic observations of maternal behavior and pup development of captive Key Largo woodrats (Neotoma floridana smalli) during the first 30 days of life. Data were collected on six litters of pups born to four dams between December 2006 and July 2007.
Field studies often necessitate immobilization of animal subjects, but field conditions may complicate the induction of anesthesia. Likewise, researchers must ensure that animals are fully recovered before releasing them. The authors successfully tested an anesthesia induction and reversal regimen under field conditions.
In 2005, Disney’s Animal Kingdoms received 11 animals and began to systematically investigate methods of breeding Key Largo woodrats. Since the program’s inception, 30 pups have been born and successfully parent reared. In this report, we describe some of the husbandry techniques that have contributed to the success of the Key Largo woodrat captive breeding program at Disney’s Animal Kingdoms. The results obtained may be of use to other facilities maintaining woodrats and other rodent species.
The development of a captive breeding program for the endangered Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) presents special challenges due to aggressive behavior toward conspecifics, a low reproductive rate, and limited information on estrous cycles. In an effort to identify behavioral predictors of copulation, we observed 17 Key Largo woodrats prior to and during 267 male–female pairing events, 76 of which resulted in copulation
We investigated the occurrence of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) in common raccoons (Procyon lotor) in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia during spring (n = 9, April-June) and fall (n =5, August-October) 2001 and spring (n = 1) and fall (n = 4) 2002. We found no evidence of B. procyonis infection in 25 raccoons sampled by fecal floatation and necropsy methodologies.
A number of hypotheses have been proposed, but one that has not been thoroughly analyzed is that the Allegheny woodrat’s decline may have begun with the disappearance of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). Here we present several lines of circumstantial, but nonetheless intriguing, evidence linking woodrats and chestnuts as ecological partners.
Baylisascaris procyonis, the common large roundworm of raccoons (Procyon lotor), causes clinical neurologic disease in many species of mammals and birds. Infective eggs of B. procyonis are present at raccoon latrine sites, and these sites may be important in the transmission of this parasite to syntopic small vertebrates in forested areas. We located raccoon latrines in forested sites in Indiana, sampled soil and fecal material from these locations, and examined these samples for the presence of Baylisascaris procyonis eggs
Eleven polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers were screened to investigate patterns and processes of genetic variation in Allegheny woodrats at 2 spatial scales, geographically distinct populations and subpopulations within populations.
We examined a suite of macro-habitat and landscape variables around active and inactive Allegheny woodrat Neotoma magister colony sites in the Appalachian Mountains of the mid-Atlantic Highlands of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia using an information-theoretic modeling approach. Logistic regression analyses suggested that Allegheny woodrat presence was related positively to distance to the nearest occupied colony site and was influenced by location within physiographic subprovince.
The purpose of this study was to relate demographic parameters to habitat characteristics at study areas. From May 2007 – July 2009, I captured 262 Allegheny woodrats on the Chestnut Ridge in Westmoreland Co, Pennsylvania. I estimated population demographics using capture mark recapture methods.
As part of a 12-yr study on the status and distribution of the Allegheny Woodrat in Virginia, we collected data on woodrat ecology and population demographics. Herein, we investigate the relationship between acorn production and an index of woodrat abundance for several woodrat populations in Virginia.
Declining Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) populations suggest a need for more basic ecological information about the species for proper management. Within the core of the Allegheny woodrat's distribution in the central Appalachians, food habits and food resource availability are poorly understood. We collected fecal material from known Allegheny woodrats between November 1997 and December 1998 and used microhistological techniques to describe seasonal food habits in the oak (Quercus spp.), dominated forests of the Ridge and Valley and the northern hardwood forests of the Allegheny Plateau physiographic provinces.
Using data collected over the last nine years, population trends were examined at three study areas in northcentral West Virginia along the western ridge of the central Appalachian Mountains. Relations to temperature and precipitation along with mast production were analyzed to determine if environmental variables are a factor impacting the population. Results suggest that there has been a decrease in the overall population with the adult female segment most affected.
We evaluated a chamber and nose cone method of isoflurane delivery for anesthetizing eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis; summer n ¼ 43, winter n ¼ 48) and Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister; summer n ¼ 24, winter n ¼ 13) for use when pain or stress was possible from sampling procedures.
Serum chemistry values and complete blood counts were determined for 36 wild dusky-footed wood rats (Neotoma fuscipes) from Sonoma and western Yolo County, California (USA) in summer 1999 and spring 2001. All wood rats had adequate body condition and were hydrated. Many hematologic and biochemical values were comparable to those for house rat (Rattus rattus). There were differences between wood rats tested immediately after capture (those from Yolo County) and after a week of habituation in the laboratory (Sonoma County).
We evaluated the effectiveness of supplemental stockings being proposed in the recovery of the federally endangered Key Largo woodrat (KLWR, Neotoma floridana smalli) using a stage-based, stochastic model. Supplemental stockings were evaluated with a population model using current trapping and telemetry data along with published and unpublished KLWR data.
The objective of this study was to produce reliable information on KLWR ecology to aid in its management and recovery. Specifically, the study examined (1) the trend and status of the KLWR population, (2) KLWR habitat and nesting preferences, (3) the potential of a fatal disease on KLWR, (4) the movements and ranges of the KLWR, and (5) the viability of the KLWR population.
Information on KLWR habitat preferences required to effectively manage the population is lacking, as is a means to monitor abundance. The objectives of this study were to examine habitat selection by KLWR at two spatial scales, the macro and micro-scales, and identify an efficient sampling design that can be used to monitor this rare population.
We examined external parasites of Neotoma magister (Allegheny Woodrat) from the Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area in the Cumberland Mountains and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee from November 2003 to August 2005.
Numbers of the endangered Key Largo woodrat (KLWR; Neotoma floridana smalli) have been declining for at least 25 yr. The raccoon (Procyon lotor) roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, has been found to have an adverse effect on the survival of Alleghany woodrats (N. magister).
In this paper, we present a hierarchical approach to the problem of translocating animals that rely on permanent habitat structures, in which we first use population dynamics data to identify areas of suitable habitat, and then identify optimal configuration for habitat structures. We use data collected from a non-endangered, conspecific population of the endangered riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia) to examine the degree to which the distribution of dens in translocation sites might influence the likelihood that animals persist in their new environment.