Small mammals are particularly at risk due to habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic climate change as it effects an organisms' intolerance to high temperatures and species interactions. By surveying small mammal species we can better determine habitat preferences for Great Basin biodiversity. Then, we may better predict how thinning projects will affect their populations in the future and influence management plans with the necessary knowledge to conserve them under climate change.
Novel range expansions
In the last 3 years (2017-2019) of spring to summer small mammal trapping, we have already discovered some exciting records for Nevada. In 2018, we caught 1 Dusky Footed Woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes) 120km east of its known range, which is the first capture in Nevada.
Over all 3 years, we have regularly caught the California Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys californicus) in the northeast corner of Modoc County, California and throughout Northern Washoe County including in Sheldon National Wildlife refuge. This region is extremely understudied, so it is unclear if this is an elevation and range expansion without baseline information and I plan to continue our yearly trapping efforts here to better understand and monitor this remote part of the country. The buttons below are the manuscripts associated with these discoveries.
Shrews - Sorex spp
Shrews are difficult to distinguish and hard to capture for studies. This is especially true in Nevada that has only a small amount of historic data. It is one of my aims to add to this missing knowledge for the genus Sorex in Nevada and especially for the 4 species of Bureau of Land Management conservation concern/sensitive species for the Nevada wildlife monitoring plan. So far, we have captured 1 shrew with contributed DNA to the University of Idaho project on shrew phylogenetics and are currently testing trap cameras for testing shrew habitat associations.
Over the last 2 years, we have collected data on over 2000 small mammal captures for external parasites: ticks, fleas, bot flies, and mites. Upcoming analysis will look at the relationship between deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) abundance, yearly climatic variables, dominant vegetation type, and conifer removal and parasite load on the small mammal communities. These relationships are important for better understanding disease risk and spread by all users of these habitats including humans and livestock.
Interested in American Pika or Bats?
The majority of my research on bats from 2016 - current and my current pilot project on American Pika are focused on using passive acoustic methods for monitoring activity. If you are interested in learning more about this work, please look at the acoustic research page and if you are a student looking to be a part of any of this work through data collection or processing, please check current or past opportunities on my mentor page and reach out!