Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) Home Range Movements 25 Years Post Burn of the 1988 Yellowstone Fires

Campbell, Ashkia L.
The 1988 Yellowstone fire season seemed devastating in terms of its magnitude and extent, but since the burn significant succession has occurred. In my project, I tested whether deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) showed differential movements in burned areas compared to adjacent unburned habitats 25 years after fires. We determined territory sizes by marking and recapturing mice within 2 control and 2 burn grids, and calculating the distance traveled by each individual in each habitat. We also used vegetative sampling by stratified site selection to determine differences in vegetation growth and habitat variability. The results show that territory sizes were actually larger in burn sites than in the unburned control sites, a result which is correlated to the presence of more coarse woody debris. This suggests indicate that population-level effects persist decades after the initial fire. This work is important for understanding the long-term ecological impacts of fire as well as the potential for increased zoonotic disease transfer as prescribed burning becomes more widely used in forested areas.
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