Landscape Ecology

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 1501–1512 | Cite as

Effect of road density on abundance of white-footed mice

Research Article

Abstract

While several studies have demonstrated that roads can act as barriers to small mammal movement, the relationship between road density and small mammal abundance has not yet been investigated. In southeastern Ontario, Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mice) suffer high over-winter mortality rates, resulting in small springtime populations and frequent local extinctions. Peromyscus leucopus movement is known to be inhibited by roads, which should result in lower rates of immigration into and recolonization of habitats in landscapes with high road density. We tested two predictions: (1) Forest sites situated in landscapes with high road densities have a higher chance of P. leucopus being absent during the early spring than forest sites situated in landscapes with low road densities and (2) P. leucopus populations during the summer are smaller in forest sites situated in landscapes with high road densities than in landscapes with low road densities. We sampled P. leucopus in focal patches within nineteen landscapes (7 rural, low-road-density landscapes; 7 rural, high-road-density landscapes; 5 urban landscapes). There was no significant relationship between road density and the presence/absence of P. leucopus during the early spring. We found a significant positive effect of road density on P. leucopus relative abundance during the summer, even when we excluded the urban landscapes and based the analysis on only the 14 rural landscapes. Our results suggest that any negative effect of roads on P. leucopus populations, created by their inhibition to moving across roads, is far outweighed by some positive effect of roads on P. leucopus abundance. We suggest that the two most likely explanations are that roads are positively correlated with an important as-yet-undetermined component of habitat quality, or that roads positively affect P. leucopus by negatively affecting their predators.

Keywords

Road density Relative abundance Small mammal Peromyscus leucopus Rural and urban landscapes Population subdivision Habitat fragmentation Local extinction Recolonization Movement Predator release Tracking tubes 

References

  1. Adler GH, Wilson ML (1987) Demography of a habitat generalist, the white-footed mouse, in a heterogeneous environment. Ecology 68:1785–1796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson CB, Cady AB, Meikle DB (2003) Effects of vegetation structure and edge habitat on the density and distribution of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in small and large forest patches. Can J Zool 81:897–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews KM, Gibbons JH (2005) How do highways influence snake movements? Behavioural responses to roads and vehicles. Copeia 4:772–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker PJ, Ansell RJ, Dodds PAA, Webber CE, Harris S (2003) Factors affecting the distribution of small mammals in an urban area. Mammal Rev 33:95–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barko VA, Feldhamer GA, Nicholson MC, Davie DK (2003) Urban Habitat: a determinant of white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) abundance in southern Illinois. Southeastern Nat 2:369–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barry RE Jr, Francq EN (1980) Orientation to landmarks within the preferred habitat by Peromyscus leucopus. J Mammal 61:292–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bautista LM, Garcia JT, Calmaestra RG, Palacin C, Martin CA, Morales MB, Bonal R, Vinuela J (2004) Effect of weekend road traffic on the use of space by raptors. Conserv Biol 18:726–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bendell JF (1961) Some factors affecting the habitat selection of the white-footed mouse. Can Field-Nat 75:244–245Google Scholar
  9. Blem LB, Blem CR (1975) The effects of flooding on length of residency in the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. Am Midl Nat 94:232–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowman JC, Edwards M, Sheppard LS, Forbes GJ (1999) Record distance for a non-homing movement by a Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Can Field-Nat 113:292–293Google Scholar
  11. Brown KP, Moller H, Innes J, Alterio N (1996) Calibration of tunnel tracking rates to estimate relative abundance of ship rats (Rattus Rattus) and mice (Mus musculus) in a New Zealand forest. New Zealand J Ecol 20:271–275Google Scholar
  12. Clarke BK, Clarke BS, Johnson LA, Haynie MT (2001) Influence of roads on movements of small mammals. Southwestern Nat 46:338–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diffendorfer JE, Slade NA (2002) Long-distance movements in cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) in northeastern Kansas. Am Midl Nat 148:309–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Drennan JE, Beier P, Dodd NL (1998) Use of track stations to index abundance of sciurids. J Mammal 79:352–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Drickamer LC (1990) Microhabitat preferences of 2 species of deermice Peromyscus in a northeastern United-States deciduous hardwood forest. Acta Theriologica 35:241–252Google Scholar
  16. Dueser RD, Shugart HH Jr (1978) Microhabitats in a forest-floor small mammal fauna. Ecology 59:89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Faeth SH, Kane TC (1978) Urban biogeography – City parks as islands for Diptera and Coleoptera. Oecologica 32:127–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fahrig L, Merriam G (1985) Habitat patch connectivity and population survival. Ecology 66:1762–1768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Forman RTT (2000) Estimate of the area affected ecologically by the road system in the United States. Conserv Biol 14:31–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Forman RTT, Alexander LE (1998) Roads and their major ecological effects. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 29:207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Forman RTT, Sperling D, Bissonette JA, Clevenger AR, Cutshall CD, Dale VH, Fahrig L, France R, Goldman CR, Heanue K, Jones JA, Swanson FJ, Turrentine T, Winter TC (2003) Road ecology: science and solutions. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Garland T Jr, Bradley WG (1984) Effects of a highway on Mojave Desert rodent populations. Am Midl Nat 111:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gill D, Bonnett P (1973) Nature in the urban landscape. York Press Inc., BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  24. Glennon MJ, Porter WF, Demers CL (2002) An alternative field technique for estimating diversity of small mammal populations. J Mammal 83:734–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gottfried BM (1979) Small mammal populations in woodlot islands. Am Midl Nat 102:105–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hansen LP, Warnock JE (1978) Response of two species of Peromyscus to vegetational succession on land strip-mined for coal. Am Midl Nat 100:416–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hell P, Plavy R, Slamecka J, Gasparik J (2005) Losses of mammals (Mammalia) and birds (Aves) on roads in the Slovak part of the Danube Basin. European J Wildlife Research 51:35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Howard WE (1960) Innate and environmental dispersal of individual vertebrates. Am Midl Nat 63:152–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kozakiewicz MA (1993) Habitat isolation and ecological barriers – the effect on small mammal populations and communities. Acta Theriologica 38:1–30Google Scholar
  30. Kozakiewicz M, Kozakiewicz A, Lukowski A, Gortat T (1993) Use of space by bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) in a polish farm landscape. Landsc Ecol 8:19–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kozel RM, Fleharty ED (1979) Movements of rodents across roads. Southwestern Nat 24:239–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krebs CJ (1989) Ecological methodology. Harper Collins Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Krohne DT, Hoch GA (1999) Demography of Peromyscus leucopus populations on habitat patches: the role of dispersal. Can J Zool 77:1247–1253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krohne DT, Merritt JF, Vessey SH, Wolff JO (1988) Comparative demography of forest Peromyscus. Can J Zool 66:2170–2176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee SD (2004) Population dynamics and demography of deermice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in heterogeneous habitat: Role of coarse woody debris. Polish J Ecol 52:55–62Google Scholar
  36. Lodé T (2000) Effect of a motorway on mortality and isolation of wildlife populations. Ambio 29:163–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mader HJ (1984) Animal habitat isolation by roads and agricultural fields. Biol Conserv 29:81–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maier TJ (2002) Long-distance movements of female White-footed Mice, Peromyscus leucopus, in extensive mixed-wood forest. Can Field-Nat 116:108–111Google Scholar
  39. McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA, Groffman P, Bohlen P, Pouyat RV, Zipperer WC, Parmeler RW, Carreiro MM, Medley K (1997) Ecosystem processes along an urban-to-rural gradient. Urban Ecosystems 1:21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Merriam G (1990) Ecological processes in time and space of farmland mosaics. In: Zonneveld IS, Forman RTT (eds) Changing landscapes: an ecological perspective. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 121–33Google Scholar
  41. Merriam G, Wegner J (1992) Local extinctions, habitat fragmentation, and ecotones. In: Hansen AJ, di Castri F (eds) Landscape boundaries: consequences for biotic diversity and ecological flows. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 150–159Google Scholar
  42. Merriam G, Kozakiewicz M, Tsuchiya E, Hawley K (1989) Barriers as boundaries for metapopulations and demes of Peromyscus leucopus in farm landscapes. Landsc Ecol 2:227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Meunier FP, Verheyden C, Jouventin P (2000) Use of roadsides by diurnal raptors in agricultural landscapes. Biol Conserv 92:291–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Middleton J (1979) Insular biogeography in a rural mosaic: the evidence of Peromyscus leucopus. Dissertation, Carleton UniversityGoogle Scholar
  45. Mladenoff DJ, Sickley TA, Wydeven AP (1999) Predicting gray wolf landscape recolonization: logistic regression models vs. new field data. Ecol Appl 9:37–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morris DW (1986) Proximate and ultimate controls on life-history variation: the evolution of litter size in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). Evolution 40:169–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Murie OJ, Murie A (1931) Travels of Peromyscus. J Mammal 12:200–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nams VO, Gillis EA (2002) Changes in tracking tube use by small mammals over time. J Mammal 84:1374–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nupp TE, Swihart RK (1996) Effect of forest patch area on population attributes of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in fragmented landscapes. Can J Zool 74:467–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nupp TE, Swihart RK (2000) Landscape-level correlates of small-mammal assemblages in forest fragments of farmland. J Mammal 81:512–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Oxley DJ, Fenton MB, Carmody GR (1974) The effects of roads on populations of small mammals. J Appl Ecol 11:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schmid-Holmes S, Drickamer LC (2001) Impact of forest patch characteristics on small mammal communities: a multivariate approach. Biol Conserv 99:293–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Seamon JO, Adler GH (1996) Population performance of generalist and specialist rodents along habitat gradients. Can J Zool 74:1130–1139Google Scholar
  54. Seiler A, Helldin JO, Seiler C (2004) Road mortality in Swedish mammals: results from a drivers’ questionnaire. Wildlife Biol 10:225–233Google Scholar
  55. Sheppe WA (1965) Characteristics and uses of Peromyscus tracking data. Ecology 46:630–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shine R, Lemaster M, Wall M, Langkilde T, Mason R (2004) Why did the snake cross the road? Effect of roads on movement and location of mates by garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis). Ecology and Society 9:9–21Google Scholar
  57. Smith DA, Speller SW (1970) The distribution and behaviour of Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis and Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis (Rodentia: Cricetidae) in a southeastern Ontario woodlot. Can J Zool 48:1187–1199Google Scholar
  58. Speller SW (1968) Habitat selection and behaviour in two sympatric species of Peromyscus in south-eastern Ontario. Dissertation, Carleton UniversityGoogle Scholar
  59. SPSS for Windows, Rel 10.0.0 (1999) Chicago: SPSS IncGoogle Scholar
  60. Swihart RK, Slade NS (1984) Road crossing in Sigmodon hispidus and Microtus ochrogaster. J Mammal 65:357–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Taylor DG (1978) The population biology of white-footed mice in an isolated and a non-isolated woodlot in south-eastern Ontario. Dissertation, Carleton UniversityGoogle Scholar
  62. Vessey SH (1987) Long-term population trends in white-footed mice and the impact of supplemental food and shelter. Am Zool 27:879–890Google Scholar
  63. Wegner J (1995) Habitat distribution, spatial dynamics and reproduction of a forest rodent (Peromyscus leucopus) in an agricultural landscape. Dissertation, Carleton UniversityGoogle Scholar
  64. Wegner JF, Merriam G (1990) Use of spatial elements in a farmland mosaic by a woodland rodent. Biol Conserv 54:263–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Whitaker JO Jr (1967) Habitat relationships of four species of mice in Vigo County, Indiana. Ecology 48:867–872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yahner RH (1992) Dynamics of a small mammal community in a fragmented forest. Am Midl Nat 127:381–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zollner PA, Crane KJ (2003) Influence of canopy closure and shrub coverage on travel along coarse woody debris by eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus). Am Midl Nat 150:151–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory (GLEL), Ottawa-Carleton Institute of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations