Mammal Community Assembly During Primary Succession on the Pumice Plain at the Mount St. Helens Volcano (1983–2015)
The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens created an outstanding opportunity to investigate mammal community assembly during primary succession. From 1983 through 2015, we documented the arrival of 34 of the 45 mammals in the regional species pool and the successful establishment of 25 species. The majority of small mammals that established were likely derived from source populations that survived in isolated refugia in adjacent areas that were less disturbed during the eruption, requiring dispersal distances of a few to several kilometers. In contrast, large mammals arrived from more distant source populations—tens of km away. The next important transition in mammal community assembly will likely occur in three or four decades, as shrub cover and coniferous tree density increases, leading to development of open-forest conditions that provide habitat for forest-associated species not yet established and concomitant decline of early-seral mammal species.
KeywordsMount St. Helens Volcanic disturbance Long-term studies Primary succession Small mammal Community assembly Rodents Insectivores Dispersal Colonization Biological establishment
Long-term studies such as ours require the contributions by numerous individuals. We are particularly thankful to the cadre of technicians and graduate students who assisted with the fieldwork. Leslie Carraway at Oregon State University and Jeff Bradley at the Burke Museum aided in identification of voles and shrews. We thank the Burke Museum and Museum of Southwestern Biology for accession of our voucher collections. Kathryn Ronnenberg produced figures and made editorial improvements to this manuscript. Kelly Christiansen assisted with GIS-related figures. Chris Che-Castaldo generously provided mortality rate data for willow stems. This manuscript benefitted from comments provided by Virginia Dale and three anonymous reviewers. We thank the USDA Forest Service and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument for providing access to our study sites. Funding for this research was provided by grants from the National Science Foundation (DEB81-16914, BSR 84-07213 to J.A.M., and LTREB Program DEB-0614538 to C.M.C.), and from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.
A mammal is detected at a site either through capture in a trap or by visual observation.
In the case of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, failure of the volcano’s north flank unroofed pressurized magma and superheated water. Rapid exsolution of magmatic gases and conversion of superheated water to steam produced a laterally directed blast, which formed a density current that flowed across rugged topography. The current contained fragmented rock debris as well as shattered forest material.
Process of any number of mammals belonging to a number of different species that co-occur in the same habitat or area and interact through trophic and spatial relationships.
A rapid granular flow of an unsaturated or partly saturated mixture of volcanic rock particles (± ice) and water, initiated by the gravitational collapse and disintegration of part of a volcanic edifice. Debris avalanches differ from debris flows in that they are not water saturated. Although debris avalanches commonly occur in association with eruptions, they can also occur during periods when a volcano is dormant.
Movement of a mammal from its point of origin or home site to another.
A species that is assumed to have a breeding population at a site based on the presence of one or more of the following three criteria: (a) ≥1 adult male and female detected at the same site during the same sampling session, (b) ≥1 pregnant or lactating females detected at a site, or (c) several juveniles of a species detected at a site during a single trapping session.
An Indonesian term for a rapid granular flow of a fully saturated mixture of volcanic rock particles (± ice), water, and commonly woody debris. A lahar that has ≥50% solids by volume is termed a debris flow; one that has roughly 10–50% solids by volume is termed a hyperconcentrated flow. Flow type can evolve with time and distance along a flow path as sediment is entrained or deposited.
A subfamily of rodents (Arvicolinae) that includes the voles, lemmings, and muskrats. At Mount St. Helens, they include three genera of herbivorous voles (Microtus, Myodes, and Phenacomys).
Rapid flow of a dry mixture of hot (commonly >700 °C) solid particles, gases, and air that has a ground-hugging flow often directed by topography. Flows are generally gravity driven but may be accelerated initially by impulsive lateral forces of directed volcanic explosions. Flows typically move at high velocity (up to several hundreds of km h−1).
Fragmental rock material ejected from a volcano during an eruption and deposited by airfall. It is typically composed of ash (less than 4 mm in diameter), lapilli (4- to 32-mm particles), and blocks (angular stones larger than 32 mm).
- Adams, A.B., K.E. Hinckley, C. Hinzman, and S.R. Leffler. 1986. Recovery of small mammals in three habitats in the northwest sector of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. In Mount St. Helens: Five years later, ed. S.A.C. Keller, 345–358. Cheney: Eastern Washington University Press.Google Scholar
- Allen, M.F., and J.A. MacMahon. 1988. Direct VA mycorrhizal inoculation of colonizing plants by pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides) on Mount St. Helens. Mycologia 80: 413–417.Google Scholar
- Allen, M.F., C.M. Crisafulli, S.J. Morris, L.M. Egerton-Warburton, J.A. MacMahon, and J.M. Trappe. 2005. Mycorrhizae and Mount St. Helens: Story of a symbiosis. In Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, ed. V.H. Dale, F.J. Swanson, and C.M. Crisafulli, 221–231. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bevers, E.J. 1998. Colonization and population biology of pikas (Ochotona princeps) on Mount St. Helens. Doctoral dissertation, New Mexico State University, New Mexico, USA.Google Scholar
- Bishop, J.G., W.F. Fagan, J.D. Schade, and C.M. Crisafulli. 2005. Causes and consequences of herbivory on prairie lupine (Lupinus lepidus) in early primary succession. In Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, ed. V.H. Dale, F.J. Swanson, and C.M. Crisafulli, 151–161. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Burt, W.H. 1961. Some effects of Volcan Paricutin on vertebrates, Occasional Paper No. 620. Ann Arbor: Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
- Che-Castaldo, C. 2014. The attack dynamics and ecosystem consequences of stem borer herbivory on Sitka willow at Mount St. Helens. Doctoral dissertation. University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.Google Scholar
- Crisafulli, C.M., J.A. MacMahon, and R.R. Parmenter. 2005. Small mammal survival and colonization on the Mount St. Helens Volcano: 1980–2002. In Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, ed. V.H. Dale, F.J. Swanson, and C.M. Crisafulli, 199–218. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dale, V.H., F.J. Swanson, and C.M. Crisafulli, eds. 2005. Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Edwards, J.S. 1986. Arthropods as pioneers: Recolonization of the blast zone on Mount St. Helens. Northwest Environmental Journal 2: 263–273.Google Scholar
- Franklin, J.F., and C.T. Dyrness. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington, General Technical Report PNW-8. Portland: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station.Google Scholar
- Franklin, J.F., J.A. MacMahon, F.J. Swanson, and J.R. Sedell. 1985. Ecosystem responses to the eruption of Mount St. Helens. National Geographic Research 1: 198–216.Google Scholar
- Lipman, P.W., and D.R. Mullineaux. 1981. The 1980 eruptions of Mount St. Helens, Washington, Professional Paper 1250. Washington, DC: U.S. Geological Survey.Google Scholar
- Parmenter, R.R. 2005. Patterns of decomposition and nutrient cycling across a volcanic disturbance gradient: A case study using rodent carcasses. In Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, ed. V.H. Dale, F.J. Swanson, and C.M. Crisafulli, 233–242. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Parmenter, R.R., J.A. MacMahon, M.E. Waaland, M.M. Stuebe, P. Landres, and C.M. Crisafulli. 1985. Reclamation of surface coal mines in western Wyoming for wildlife habitat: A preliminary analysis. Reclamation and Revegetation Research 4: 93–115.Google Scholar
- Pearson, O.P. 1994. The impact of an eruption of Volcan Hudson on small mammals in Argentine Patagonia. Mastozoologia Neotropical 1: 103–112.Google Scholar
- Saba, S.L., and D.A. de Lamo. 1994. Dynamic responses of mammals to the eruption of Volcan Hudson. Mastozoologia Neotropical 1: 113–122.Google Scholar
- Thoreau, H.D. 1887. The succession of forest trees. Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, Houghton, Mifflin and Co.Google Scholar
- West, S.D. 1991. Small mammal communities in the southern Washington Cascade Range. In Wildlife and vegetation of unmanaged Douglas-fir forests, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-285, ed. L.F. Ruggiero, K.B. Aubry, A.B. Carey, and M.H. Huff, 268–283. Portland: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.Google Scholar
- Wilson, D.E., and S. Ruff, eds. 1999. The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Wilson, S.M., and A.B. Carey. 2000. Legacy retention versus thinning: Influences on small mammals. Northwest Science 74: 131–145.Google Scholar
- Yurkewycz, R.P., J.G. Bishop, C.M. Crisafulli, J.A. Harrison, and R.A. Gill. 2014. Gopher mounds decrease nutrient cycling rates and increase adjacent vegetation in a volcanic primary succession. Oecologia. https://doi.org/10.1007/s0042-014-3075-7.