US-IALE 2018 has ended
Back To Schedule
Monday, April 9 • 11:45am - 12:00pm
SYMPOSIA-01: Evaluating Small Mammal Community Composition, Stress, and Health Across an Urban to Exurban Gradient in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

AUTHORS: Matthew P. Mulligan*, Lincoln Park Zoo; Mason Fidino, Lincoln Park Zoo; Michael J. Yabsley, University of Georgia; Seth B. Magle, Lincoln Park Zoo; Rachel M. Santymire, Lincoln Park Zoo

ABSTRACT: Although small mammals are key prey species and have top-down effects on vegetation, their ecology and health are often underexplored in urban environments. Our study aims to understand small mammal population dynamics along an urban to exurban gradient in the Chicago metropolitan area and evaluate stress levels and disease prevalence to determine how surrounding landscapes can influence small mammal health. The research objectives are to: 1) Determine small mammal presence/absence and relative abundance, 2) Examine population size and community composition, 3) Evaluate small mammal physiological stress in varied urban habitats, 4) Determine the presence of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) on an urban to exurban gradient. Three sessions of live-trapping occurred at 10 sites from May to August of 2017 for 3 consecutive nights resulting in 729 captures of 478 individual small mammals. Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) represented over 80% of individuals captured with meadow voles seemingly the dominant species in suburban sites (68.9%). However, vole and deer mouse abundance were quite similar in more urban regions, albeit at lower overall numbers. Species richness did not significantly vary between regions, but was typically driven by one or two species-rich sites. Tick dragging and gathering ticks from small mammals resulted in 52 ticks in 2017. A subset of these ticks will be submitted for Lyme disease testing along with other potential pathogens. Stress hormones (glucocorticoid metabolites) will be extracted from meadow vole and deer mouse hair samples to characterize chronic (long-term) stress levels at varying habitats. Year two study expansions include on-site vegetation sampling and landscape connectivity measures through surrounding corridor investigation. Long-term wildlife camera data will be paired with trapping data to consider relationships between small mammals and urban mesocarnivores.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:45am - 12:00pm CDT
Hancock Parlor