habitats

Fungal Thermophile Survey at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Abstract: 

Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are complex assemblages of fungi, lichens, bacteria, mosses and green algae that stabilize surface soils and manage and traffic photosynthate, nutrients and water to diverse microbial and producer communities in arid environments worldwide.  In Sevilleta grasslands, BSCs occupy much of the open space between clumps of vegetation and vary substantially in terms of structure. 

BSCs have important biological and physical roles.  They have been termed ‘mantles of fertility’ because of their general importance in biogeochemical cycling and net primary production in arid ecosystems.  It has been proposed that BSCs play a role in the rapid movement of N, C and water from open areas to plants (see below).  BSCs stabilize soils, and physical and chemical disturbances of BSCs lead to topsoil loss and dust storms.  BSCs are therefore critical components in efforts to understand implications of both climate change and physical disturbance.  Related to this, it has been suggested that BSC diversity can be used to inform conservation policies.

BSCs have been the subject of several previous Sevilleta LTER studies.  Green et al. showed that stable-isotope carbon and nitrogen could be transferred bi-directionally between BSCs and adjacent plants.  This led Collins et al. to propose that fungal hyphae provide connections between plant roots and BSCs that allow for transport between the two, a proposal known as the “fungal loop hypothesis.”  Porras-Alfaro et al. have surveyed the diversity of fungi in BSCs from Sevilleta grasslands using molecular methods.  We have also shown that thermophilic fungi are common in BSCs (unpublished results), a result that is not unexpected given the high summer temperatures attained in Sevilleta surface soils.  Yet, many questions remain regarding the organisms present in BSCs, their biological roles and how long it takes for BSCs to re-establish after disturbance.  Long-term, we are interested in the types of fungi present in BSCs and in how fungi function in transporting nutrients between BSCs and adjacent plants.  We are also interested in the extent to which specific fungi provide structure to BSCs and in how they help protect from stress agents such as desiccation.  We are interested in the extent to which fungi might help BSCs tolerate high summer soil temperatures, which often reach ≥ 60C.  We therefore have a special interest in thermophilic fungi present in the BSCs.  To date, little has been done to actually culture fungi from Sevilleta BSCs, hence the need for the current study.  

In summary, BSCs are one of the most important features of aridland ecosystems and form a critical interface between physical and biological domains.  Understanding the roles of BSCs in protecting soil structure, and in the cycling of carbon, water and nitrogen, is fundamental to aridland ecology.  The work proposed here continues efforts to characterize the specific fungi associated with Sevilleta BSCs.  It is a modest but important step toward addressing the long-term goals mentioned above.

Core Areas: 

Additional Project roles: 

31

Data set ID: 

281

Keywords: 

Methods: 

For each sampling site and sampling period a small amount of surface crust (approx. one teaspoon per sample) was taken from each of 10 locations at approximately 1 meter intervals across a transect.  Samples were transported back to the laboratory in plastic bags.

On rare occasions, a larger sample of 0.5 liter volume or less may have been removed at one or two sampling stations.

Additional information: 

Data was collected at: LTER PJ site (N 34 23’ 08.7” W 106 31’ 27.0”), a sand dune above the railroad tracks near the Sevilleta wetlands (N34 18' 06.5"  W106 51' 14.1"), gypsum outcroppings (N34 12' 40.5"  W106 45' 35.5"), grasslands near the Sev LTER warming and monsoon sites (N34 21' 34.3" W106 41' 29.4" and N34 20' 38.1"  W106 43' 34.5"), and the Rio Grande Bosque (N34 19'45" W106 51'40").

 

Plant phenology or life-history pattern changes seasonally as plants grow, mature, flower, and produce fruit and seeds. Plant phenology follows seasonal patterns, yet annual variation may occur due to annual differences in the timing of rainfall and ambient temperature shifts. Foliage growth and fruit and seed production are important aspects of plant population dynamics and food resource availability for animals.

Pollinator Monitoring Study in the Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands and Creosote Shrubland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-present)

Abstract: 

This study is designed to look at community or population level fluctuations in bees over the
season and on a long term basis, over years. Funnel traps are a very low maintenance method of
trapping pollinators with zero human bias. The bias of the traps is that the color determines the
species and sexes that it attracts. Therefore the traps provide relative abundance that can be
compared over the season or year, but individual species cannot be compared within a season. This
study is designed to be compared with the data from SEV137 Phenology, to look at spatial and
temporal patterns within pollinator and flowering plant communities. Data is not available at this
time, but the species list is.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

135

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Activating and collecting the traps

When the traps are activated, the worker need only a screwdriver to open the cans and a gallon of propylene glycol to fill the traps. After major rain events, the watered down glycol is collected for disposal and the trap is refilled with undiluted glycol.

To collect the specimens, the worker carries 10 small kitchen strainers, a pint size plastic cup and a hammer. The specimens are strained and the old antifreeze is placed back in the paint can. The funnel is left inside the cage with the closed paint can for the inactive period.

Back at the truck, the specimens are transferred into labelled vials with 70% ethyl alcohol and stored until they can be processed.

Lab Processing

In the lab, the specimens are rinsed of any left over glycol and pinned and labelled according to museum standards. All of 2001 specimens were pinned. In 2002, some of the more common species or species groups were not pinned, but were stored in alcohol with the non-target specimens.

Identifications

Identifications are done by Karen Wetherill (Sevilleta LTER) and Terry Griswold (USDA Bee Laboratory, Logan, Utah). Twenty specimens of each  species or morphotype are deposited in the Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) and 20 are deposited in the arthropod collection of the  Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Station which is a permanent loan from the MSB. Some specimens were retained by the USDA Bee Laboratory in Logan, Utah. Host codes are Kartez Plant codes as listed on the USDA Plants Database.

Sampling design

One blue trap and one yellow trap were installed 10m north or 10m south of each phenology transect. The north or south location of each color of trap was decided by flipping a coin. The phenology transects are the north/south lines of each rodent trapping web and are 200m long. There are five rodent trapping webs at each of the three sites, totalling 30 traps, 15 of each color. One sample equals the sum of one yellow trap and one blue trap.

The traps consist of a 2 foot high chicken wire cage with a platform 1 1/2 feet off the ground. The cage prevents wildlife from disturbing  the traps. The trap itself rests on the platform and is made up of a one quart paint can with about an inch of propylene glycol and a yellow or blue automotive funnel with a heavy section of pipe glued around the spout to prevent the wind from blowing the funnel. The funnels have been sprayed with blue and yellow Krylon brand flourescent spray paint. The lid of the paint can is left in the cage to close the can when the trap is inactive.

The traps are activated in March every year and are left open for 14 days at which point the specimens are collected and the traps are closed for another 14 days. This cycle repeats itself through the month of October.

Maintenance: 

This file was created on Jan. 14, 2003 by Kristin Vanderbilt.

This study began in February of 2001. The first year is to be considered a pilot study as the methods changed for 2002. In the first year, pan traps were used. These were replaced by funnel traps for the year 2002.

This file was updated by Karen Wetherill on March 10, 2004 and again on December 7, 2005 and again on July 9, 2008.

Quality Assurance: 

All identifications were verified at the USDA Bee Laboratories in Logan, Utah with the help of Dr. Terry Griswold.

Additional information: 

Information on data collection

In 2001, the samples were collected once a month, during the same time as the phenology data. Yellow pan traps were put out for 48 hours (or shorter due to evaporation). In 2002, after the traps were replaced with funnel traps which use antifreeze rather than water, the traps were left open for two weeks and then closed for two weeks from February through October.

In August 2002, the traps were accidentally closed one week early and then reset for an additional week (August 30th to September 6th) so these samples will be more like the September samples than they are like the July samples.

In 2004 the February collection was not taken.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area 1

Study Area Name: Blue Grama Core Site

Study Area Location: The Blue Grama Core Site is one of 5 current core SEVLTER study sites. Core studies include meteorology, rodent abundance, pollinator diversity, monthly phenology, and NPP. Additional studies have examined the Bootleg Canyon fire of 1998 and grass patch dynamics.

Elevation: 1670 m

Vegetation: Vegetation is characterized as Plains-Mesa Grassland, dominated by blue and black gramma (Bouteloua gracilis & B. eriopoda) and galleta grass (Hilaria jamesii)

North Coordinate:34.3348
South Coordinate:34.3348
East Coordinate:106.631
West Coordinate:106.631

Study Area 2

Study Area Name: Five Points Creosote Core Site

Study Area Location: Five Points is the general area which emcompasses the Black Grama Grassland (known as Five Points Grassland) and Creosote Core (Five Points Larrea) study sites and the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitats. Both core sites are subject to intensive research activities, including measurements of NPP, phenology, pollinator diversity, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent populations. There are drought rain-out shelters in both the Grassland and Creosote sites, as well as another set in the mixed ecotone with co-located ET Towers. The grassland Small Mammal Exclosure Study is located here, as well as many plots related to patch mapping and biotic transitions.

Elevation: 1615 m

Vegetation: The Creosote Core site is characterized as Chihuahuan Desert Scrub, dominated by a creosotebush overstory, with broom snakeweed, purple pricklypear (O. macrocentra) and soapweed yucca as notable shrubs. The site is also characterized by numerous, dense grass dominated patches, reflecting proximity to the Black Grama Core site and the presumably recent appearance of creosotebush. Dominant grasses were black grama, fluffgrass (Dasyochloa pulchellum), burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolia), bushmuhly (M. porteri), and galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii). Notable forb species included field bahia (Bahia absinthifolia), baby aster (Chaetopappa ericoides), plains hiddenflower, Indian rushpea (Hoffmannseggia glauca), Fendler’s bladderpod (Lesquerella fendleri), and globemallow.

North Coordinate:34.3331
South Coordinate:34.3331
East Coordinate:106.736
West Coordinate:106.736

Study Area 3

Study Area Name: Five Points Grass Core Site

Study Area Location: Five Points is the general area which emcompasses the Black Grama Grassland (known as Five Points Grassland) and Creosote Core (Five Points Larrea) study sites and the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitats. Both core sites are subject to intensive research activities, including measurements of NPP, phenology, pollinator diversity, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent populations. There are drought rain-out shelters in both the Grassland and Creosote sites, as well as another set in the mixed ecotone with co-located ET Towers. The grassland Small Mammal Exclosure Study is located here, as well as many plots related to patch mapping and biotic transitions.

Elevation: 1616 m

Vegetation: Desert Grassland habitat is ecotonal in nature and the Black Grama Core site is no exception, bordering Chihuahuan Desert Scrub at its southern boundary and Plains-Mesa Grassland at its northern, more mesic boundary. There is also a significant presence of shrubs, dominantly broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), along with less abundant fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Mormon tea (Ephedra torreyana), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata), club cholla (O. clavata), desert pricklypear (O. phaeacantha), soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca), and what are presumed to be encroaching, yet sparsely distributed, creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Characteristically, the dominant grass was black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda). Spike,  sand, and mesa dropseed grasses (Sporobolus contractus, S. cryptandrus, S. flexuosus) and sand muhly (Muhlenbergia arenicola) could be considered co-dominant throughout, along with blue grama  (B. gracilis) in a more mesic, shallow swale on the site. Notable forb species included trailing four o’clock (Allionia incarnata), horn loco milkvetch (Astragalus missouriensis), sawtooth spurge  (Chamaesyce serrula), plains hiddenflower (Cryptantha crassisepala), blunt tansymustard (Descarania obtusa), wooly plaintain (Plantago patagonica), globemallow (Sphaeralcea wrightii), and mouse ear (Tidestromia lanuginosa).

North Coordinate:34.3381
South Coordinate:34.3381
East Coordinate:106.717
West Coordinate:106.717

Reptile Populations at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (1989-1990)

Abstract: 

Reptile populations were sampled in spring and summer in various habitats: grassland, creosote shrubland, pinyon-juniper woodland, cottonwood forest, subalpine forest, and subalpine meadow. On 18 sites mark-release methods were used; on 12 sites, all animals were kept for museum specimens. Museum specimen preparations included skulls, whole skeletons, and alcohol preservations; all specimens had tissue samples (liver, heart) taken for ultra-cold preservations for genetic analyses; some were karyotyped. All museum specimens were checked for internal parasites.

Data set ID: 

9

Core Areas: 

Additional Project roles: 

52

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Livetrapping of lizards and snakes on the Sevilleta was done by using pitfall traps connected with drift fences.  A pitfall trap consisted of two large ( 10) cans connected end to end resulting in a trap approximately 44 cm deep and 15 cm in diameter.  The traps were inserted into the ground so the tops are flush.  Two pitfalls were placed into the ground approximately 6 meters apart and connected with a 12 cm tall aluminum flashing fence.  The fence guided the reptiles into the pitfall traps.

There were 24 pitfall traps per web (12 sets) totaling 120 per site. Seventy-two of these were for mark and recapture studies, while the remaining 48 werefor the collection of museum specimens.

The pitfalls were covered with aluminum flashing lids that sit approximately 2.5 cm off the ground.  The lids provided complete shade and protection from precipitation.  The trap floors were also punctured to permit drainage if necessary.

The pitfall traps were opened for three weeks at a time, and were checked every two or three days by a crew of two to five.  At the end of the three weeks they were closed by covering the openings with a square ceramic tile, 20 cm per side.  The edges of the tiles were then covered with dirt as an extra safeguard against penetration. All pitfalls were checked for the presence of animals by removing the aluminum lids and visually inspecting each trap's interior.  Lizards found in the traps on the collection webs were removed from the traps, placed in plastic bags with an adequate supply of air, and transported to the lab for processing.  Lizards found in pitfalls on mark-recapture webs were removed by hand, then identified to species level, checked for previous capture and individual identification marks, measured, weighed and sexed.  The lizards were toe-clipped with no more than two toes cut per foot, and the longest toes on the hind feet left intact.

All snakes were identified to species level, and non-venomous snakes were measured and weighed but not marked because so few are captured. Venomous snakes were removed from pitfalls by the head animal technician using a "snake stick" which enabled the user to handle snakes safely without injury to the snake.

All lizards and snakes are released at the exact location of capture.

Data sources: 

sev009_reptilepopn_09072011.txt

Additional information: 

This data set was obtained from the Mac computer of Howard Snell, Asst. Professor at UNM. All data from years 1989 and 1990, were entered by him or his assistants. As 1989 and 1990 data sets were in separate files, they have been merged together as one file in this data set. The format was changed to "rdb" format in order to allow the data set to be used on the Sevilleta system. File begin edit: May 28, Michelle L. Murillo: changing to rdb format.File end edit: May 28, Michelle L. Murillo.

Note: holder, measurer, recorder taken out, can be found on original data sheets.

Pino Gate Prairie Dog Study: Landscape-scale Grasshopper Plot Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-2002)

Abstract: 

Keystone species have large impacts on community and ecosystem properties, and create important ecological interactions with other species. Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) are considered keystone species of grassland ecosystems, and create a mosaic of unique habitats on the landscape. These habitats are known to attract a number of animal species, but little is known about how they affect arthropod communities. Our research evaluated the keystone roles of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats on arthropods at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, USA. We evaluated the impacts of these rodents on ground-dwelling arthropod and grasshopper communities in areas where prairie dogs and kangaroo rats co-occurred compared to areas where each rodent species occurred alone. Our results demonstrate that prairie dogs and kangaroo rats have keystone-level impacts on these arthropod communities. Their burrow systems provided important habitats for multiple trophic and taxonomic groups of arthropods, and increased overall arthropod abundance and species richness on the landscape. any arthropods also were attracted to the aboveground habitats around the mounds and across the landscapes where the rodents occurred. Detritivores, predators, ants, grasshoppers, and rare rodent burrow inhabitants showed the strongest responses to prairie dog and kangaroo rat activity. The impacts of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats were unique, and the habitats they created supported different assemblages of arthropods. Where both rodent species occurred together on the landscape, there was greater habitat heterogeneity and increased arthropod diversity.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

197

Additional Project roles: 

350

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev197_pdoghopperplot_01142009.txt

Methods: 

Experimental Design

Landscape-scale plots: We compared grasshoppers on plots occupied by:1) both species (Pdog+Krat plot);2) only kangaroo rats (Krat plot); and 3) both species, but where prairie dogs inhabited one half of the plot and kangaroo rats inhabited the other half (Transition plot).

Sampling Design

The landscape-scale plots were 180 m x 180 m. Grasshoppers were visually sampled along strip  transect lines established along each gridline of the landscape-scale plots, using a 5 x 5 grid array. Strip transects on the landscape-scale plots measured 1 m x 30 m.

Field methods

Grasshoppers were sampled by walking slowly along each transect,tapping the soil and vegetation with a 1 m long, 1.27 cm diameter white PVC pipe. Grasshoppers flushed from the ground were counted and identified to species, and the substrate (i.e., plant species, bare soil) they were  observed on was recorded. This is the standard method used at both the SEV and Jornada LTER sites, and is similar to that developed by Paftd (1982). Grasshoppers were sampled during spring (April) and fall (September), from fall 1999 through spring 2002 at the SNWR.

Laboratory Procedures

Grasshopper voucher specimens from this study were deposited in the collection of the Arthropod Division, Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico.

Maintenance: 

01/09/2009 (YX): the metadata was entered from metadata supplied by Ana Davidson 1/25/2008

(Yang Xia) - updated and modified metadata to correct format;checked data for missing data points and
errors;- any empty cells were filled in with either -999 for missing data

Additional information: 

Additional Personnel with Data Collection

Julie McIntyre was part of the field crew in collecting/processing samples.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Pino Gate

Study Area Location: The study site was located near the base of the Los Pinos mountains and directly adjacent to the nothern fencline of the SNWR at Pino Gate.

Elevation: 1600 m

Vegetation: Burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), and black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) were the dominant vegetation.

Soils: Deep clayey loam soils

Geology: On an upper bajada slope, in a broad swale

Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5°C and 25.1°C, respectively.

Site history: Historically, prairie dogs were common throughout the area, but were exterminated by the early 1970’s (John Ford, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, personal communication). Gunnison’s prairie dogs began to re-colonize the study site from adjacent private land in 1998. During our study, the colony occurred within a 5 ha area, near the base of the Los Piños Mountains in an area with deep clayey loam soils. The site has been long inhabited by kangaroo rats, and represents typical northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland

North Coordinate:34.406954
South Coordinate:34.406954
East Coordinate:106.606269
West Coordinate:106.606269

Pino Gate Prairie Dog Study: Mound-scale Grasshopper Plot Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-2001)

Abstract: 

Keystone species have large impacts on community and ecosystem properties, and create important ecological interactions with other species. Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) are considered keystone species of grassland ecosystems, and create a mosaic of unique habitats on the landscape. These habitats are known to attract a number of animal species, but little is known about how they affect arthropod communities. Our research evaluated the keystone roles of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats on arthropods at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, USA. We evaluated the impacts of these rodents on ground-dwelling arthropod and grasshopper communities in areas where prairie dogs and kangaroo rats co-occurred compared to areas where each rodent species occurred alone. Our results demonstrate that prairie dogs and kangaroo rats have keystone-level impacts on these arthropod communities. Their burrow systems provided important habitats for multiple trophic and taxonomic groups of arthropods, and increased overall arthropod abundance and species richness on the landscape. Many arthropods also were attracted to the aboveground habitats around the mounds and across the landscapes where the rodents occurred. Detritivores, predators, ants, grasshoppers, and rare rodent burrow inhabitants showed the strongest responses to prairie dog and kangaroo rat activity. The impacts of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats were unique, and the habitats they created supported different assemblages of arthropods. Where both rodent species occurred together on the landscape, there was greater habitat heterogeneity and increased arthropod diversity.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

198

Additional Project roles: 

351

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev198_pdoghoppermound_01142009.txt

Methods: 

Experimental Design

Mound-scale plots- To evaluate arthropods associated with mound disturbance patches and rodent burrow systems, we established replicate mound-scale plots with paired “non-mound” control plots. The mound and non-mound plots were spatially intermixed within each landscape-scale plot. Samples were collected from 10 kangaroo rat mounds on the Krat plot, 10 prairie dog and 10 kangaroo rat mounds on the Pdog+Krat plot, and on paired non-mounds located 10 m away from sample mounds, in areas with minimal rodent disturbance.

Sampling Design

Grasshoppers were visually sampled along strip transect lines established through each mound-scale plot. Strip transects on the mound-scale plots measured 1 m x 5 m.

Field methods

Grasshoppers were sampled by walking slowly along each transect, tapping the soil and vegetation with a 1 m long, 1.27 cm diameter white PVC pipe. Grasshoppers flushed from the ground were counted and identified to species, and the substrate (i.e., plant species, bare soil) they were observed on was recorded. This is the standard method used at both the SEV and Jornada LTER sites, and is similar to that developed by Paftd (1982). Grasshoppers were sampled during spring (April) and fall (September), from fall 1999 through spring 2002 at the SNWR.

Laboratory Procedures

Grasshopper voucher specimens from this study were deposited in the collection of the Arthropod Division, Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico.

Maintenance: 

01/09/2009 (YX): the  metadata was entered  from metadata supplied by Ana Davidson

1/25/2008(YX):updated and modified metadata to correct format;checked data for missing data points and errors;- any empty cells were filled in with either -999 for missing data

Additional information: 

Additional Personnel involved in Data Collection

Julie McIntyre was part of the field crew in collecting and processing samples.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Pino Gate

Study Area Location: The study site was located near the base of the Los Pinos mountains and directly adjacent to the nothern fencline of the SNWR at Pino Gate.

Elevation: 1600 m

Vegetation: Burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), and black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) were the dominant vegetation.

Soils: Deep clayey loam soils.

Geology: On an upper bajada slope, in a broad swale.

Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5°C and 25.1°C, respectively.

Site history: Historically, prairie dogs were common throughout the area, but were exterminated by the early 1970’s (John Ford, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, personal communication). Gunnison’s prairie dogs began to re-colonize the study site from adjacent private land in 1998. During our study, the colony occurred within a 5 ha area, near the base of the Los Piños Mountains in an area with deep clayey loam soils. The site has been long inhabited by kangaroo rats, and represents typical northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland.

North Coordinate:34.406954
South Coordinate:34.406954
East Coordinate:106.606269
West Coordinate:106.606269

Small Mammal Mark-Recapture Population Dynamics at Core Research Sites at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (1989 - present)

Abstract: 

This file contains mark/recapture trapping data collected from 1989-2012 on permanently established web trapping arrays at 8 sites on the Sevilleta NWR. At each site 3 trapping webs are sampled for 3 consecutive nights in spring and fall. Not all sites have been trapped for the entire period. Each trapping web consists of 145 rebar stakes numbered from 1-145. There are 148 traps deployed on each web: 12 along each of 12 spokes radiating out from a central point (stake #145) plus 4 traps at the center point. The trapping sites are representative of Chihuahuan Desert Grassland, Chihuahuan Desert Shrubland, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland, Juniper Savanna, Plains-Mesa Sand Scrub and Blue Grama Grassland.

Data set ID: 

8

Core Areas: 

Additional Project roles: 

517
518

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Sampling Design
Permanent capture-mark-release trapping webs were used to estimate density (number of animals per unit area) of each rodent species at each site. The method makes use of concepts from distance sampling, i.e., point counts or line-intercept techniques. The method makes no attempts to model capture-history data, therefore it was not necessary to follow individuals through time (between sessions). Distance sampling methods allow for sighting or detection (capture) probabilities to decrease with increasing distance from the point or line. The modeling of detection probability as a function of distance forms the basis for estimation. Trapping webs were designed to provide a gradient of capture probabilities, decreasing with distance from the web center. Density estimation from the trapping web was based on three assumptions:1. All animals located at the center of the web were caught with probability 1.0; 2. Individuals did not move preferentially toward or away from the web center; 3. Distances from the web center to each trap station were measured accurately. Each web consisted of 12 trap lines radiating around a center station, each line with 12 permanently-marked trap stations. In order to increase the odds of capturing any animals inhabiting the center of a web, the center station had four traps, each pointing in a cardinal direction, and the first four stations of each trap line were spaced only 5 m apart, providing a trap saturation effect. The remaining eight stations in a trap line were spaced at 10 m intervals. The web thus established a series of concentric rings of traps. Traps in the ring nearest the web center are close together, while the distances separating traps that form a particular ring increase with increasing distance of the ring from the web center. The idea is that the web configuration produces a gradient in trap density and, therefore, in the probability of capture. Three randomly distributed trapping webs were constructed at each site. The perimeters of webs were placed at least 100 m apart in order to minimize homerange overlap for individuals captured in the outer portion of neighboring webs.

Measurement Techniques

Each site containing three webs was sampled for three consecutive nights during spring (in mid May or early June) and summer (in mid July or early August for years 1989 to 1993, then mid September to early October for years 1994 through 2000). In that rodent populations were not sampled monthly over the study period, there is no certainly that either spring or summer trapping times actually captured annual population highs or lows. Based on reproductive data in the literature, an assumption was made that sampling times chosen represent periods of the year when rodents have undergone, and would register, significant seasonal change in density. During each trapping session, one Sherman live trap (model XLF15 or SFAL, H. B. Sherman Traps, Tallahassee, FL) was placed, baited with rolled oats, and set at each permanent, numbered station (four in the center) on each web, for a total 444 traps over three webs. Traps were checked at dawn each day, closed during the day, and reset just before dusk. Habitat, trap station number, species, sex, age (adult or juvenile), mass, body measurements (total length, tail length, hind foot length, ear length), and reproductive condition (males: scrotal or non-scrotal; females: lactating, vaginal or pregnant) were recorded for each initial capture of an individual. Each animal was marked on the belly with a permanent ink felt pen in order to distinguish it from other individuals during the same trapping session. The trap station number for an initial capture related to a particular trapping ring on a web and, therefore, to a particular distance from the center of the web. The area sampled by a ring of traps was computed based on circular zones whose limits are defined by points halfway between adjacent traps along trap lines; an additional 25 m radius was added to the outer ring of traps in order to account for homerange size of individuals caught on the outer ring.

Analytical Procedures
Area trapped and number of individuals caught for each ring of traps was the basis for estimating the probability density function of the area sampled. The program DISTANCE produced the estimators used to calculate density. Where sample size for a particular species and web was less than an arbitrarily chosen n=10, the number of individuals captured during that session was simply divided into the area of the web plus the additional 25 m radius (4.9087 ha). This dataset includes only the raw capture data.

Data sources: 

sev008_rodentpopns_20161027

Instrumentation: 

 

Sherman live traps: model XLF15 or SFAL, H. B. Sherman Traps, Tallahassee, FL

Maintenance: 

Trap sets require care and cleaning as well as proper storage. Otherwise, webs are made up of durable rebar and aluminum tags which only need repair if disturbed. Tools used in the field - scales and rulers, pouches, trap bags and ziplock supply must be maintained on hand at SevFS for trapping events.

Additional information: 

Additional Information on the personnel associated with the Data Collection / Data Processing

Sevilleta Field Crew Employee History

Chandra Tucker April 2014-present, Megan McClung, April 2013-present, Stephanie Baker, October 2010-Present, John Mulhouse, August 2009-June 2013, Amaris Swann, August 25, 2008-January 2013, Maya Kapoor, August 9, 2003-January 21, 2005 and April 2010-March 2011, Terri Koontz, February 2000-August 2003 and August 2006-August 2010, Yang Xia, January 31, 2005-April 2009, Karen Wetherill, February 7, 2000-August 2009, Michell Thomey, September 3, 2005-August 2008, Jay McLeod, January 2006-August 2006, Charity Hall, January 31, 2005-January 3, 2006, Tessa Edelen, August 15, 2004-August 15, 2005, Seth Munson, September 9, 2002-June 2004, Caleb Hickman, September 9, 2002-November 15, 2004, Heather Simpson, August 2000-August 2002, Chris Roberts, September 2001-August 2002, Mike Friggens, 1999-September 2001, Shana Penington, February 2000-August 2000.

*In fall 2013, the Grassland Core site was not able to be trapped due to government shutdown. 

Pino Gate Prairie Dog Study: Mound-scale Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Plot Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-2001)

Abstract: 

Keystone species have large impacts on community and ecosystem properties, and create important ecological interactions with other species. Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) are considered keystone species of grassland ecosystems,and create a mosaic of unique habitats on the landscape. These habitats are known to attract a number of animal species, but little is known about how they affect arthropod communities. Our research evaluated the keystone roles of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats on arthropods at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, USA. We evaluated the impacts of these rodents on ground-dwelling arthropod and grasshopper communities in areas where prairie dogs and kangaroo rats co-occurred compared to areas where each rodent species occurred alone. Our results demonstrate that prairie dogs and kangaroo rats have keystone-level impacts on these arthropod communities. Their burrow systems provided important habitats for multiple trophic and taxonomic groups of arthropods, and increased overall arthropod abundance and species richness on the landscape. Many arthropods also were attracted to the aboveground habitats around the mounds and across the landscapes where the rodents occurred. Detritivores, predators, ants, grasshoppers, and rare rodent burrow inhabitants showed the strongest responses to prairie dog and kangaroo rat activity. The impacts of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats were unique, and the habitats they created supported different assemblages of arthropods. Where both rodent species occurred together on the landscape, there was greater habitat heterogeneity and increased arthropod diversity. there was great habitat heterogeneity and increased arthropod diversity.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

196

Additional Project roles: 

349

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev196_pdogarthromound_01132009.txt

Methods: 

Experimental Design

( Mound-scale plots) To evaluate arthropods associated with mound disturbance patches and rodent burrow systems, we established replicate mound-scale plots with paired non-mound control plots, a design similar to that used by Hawkins and Nicoletto (1992), Schooley et al. (2000), and others. The mound and non-mound plots were spatially intermixed within each landscape-scale plot. Samples were collected from 10 kangaroo rat mounds on the Krat plot, 10 prairie dog and 10 kangaroo rat mounds on the Pdog+Krat plot, and on paired non-mounds located 10 m away from sample mounds, in areas with minimal rodent disturbance.

Sampling Design

Pitfall traps also were placed next to prairie dog mounds and paired non-mounds on the Pdog+Krat plot and at kangaroo rat mounds and paired non-mounds on the Krat plot. To prevent rodents from disturbing the traps, pitfall traps at mound-scale plots were surrounded by 2.54 cm wire mesh, large enough to allow large arthropods to pass through.

Field methods

The pitfall traps were made of 10 oz plastic cups inserted into 12 oz cans, buried with the rim of the cup flush with the ground. Traps were filled with non-toxic propylene glycol as the trapping and preservation agent, and ceramic tiles (0.23 m x 0.23 m) were elevated over the traps. Traps were opened for one month, both during spring (May) and fall (September), from spring 2000 through fall 2001.

Laboratory Procedures

Arthropod samples were sorted and identified in the laboratory. Only ground-dwelling taxa were considered. The pitfall dataset resulted in 218 species (from both plot and mound samples). Most taxonomic groups were identified to species, but weevils (Curculionidae), velvet ants (Mutillidae), and spider wasps (Pompilidae) were grouped at higher taxonomic levels and not included in. Nymphs of crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders could not be identified to species. Arthropod voucher specimens from this study were deposited in the collection of the Arthropod Division, Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) at the University of New Mexico (UNM).

Maintenance: 

1/09/2009 -YX. The metadata was entered by Yang Xia from metadata supplied by Ana Davidson 1/17/2008 (Yang Xia) - updated and modified metadata to correct format; - Checked data for missing data points and errors

Additional information: 

Additional Personnel with Collecting Samples and Data

Julie McIntyre helped with the field data collection.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Pino Gate

Study Area Location: The study site was located near the base of the Los Pinos mountains and directly adjacent to the nothern fenceline of the SNWR at Pino Gate.

Elevation: 1600 m

Vegetation: Burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), and black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) were the dominant vegetation.

Soils: Deep clayey loam soils
 
Geology: On an upper bajada slope, in a broad swale

Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5°C and 25.1°C, respectively.

Site history: Historically, prairie dogs were common throughout the area, but were exterminated by the early 1970’s (John Ford, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, personal communication). Gunnison’s prairie dogs began to re-colonize the study site from adjacent private land in 1998. During our study, the colony occurred within a 5 ha area, near the base of the Los Piños Mountains in an area with deep clayey loam soils. The site has been long inhabited by kangaroo rats, and represents typical northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland

North Coordinate:34.406954
South Coordinate:34.406954
East Coordinate:106.606269
West Coordinate:106.606269


 

Pino Gate Prairie Dog Study at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Landscape Plot Lizard Data (2001-2002)

Abstract: 

Keystone species have large impacts on community and ecosystem properties, and create important ecological interactions with other species. Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) are considered keystone species of grassland ecosystems, and create a mosaic of unique habitats on the landscape. These habitats are known to attract a number of animal species, but little is known about how they affect lizard communities. Our research evaluated the keystone roles of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats on lizards at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, USA. We evaluated the impacts of these rodents on lizard communities in areas where prairie dogs and kangaroo rats co-occurred compared to areas where each rodent species occurred alone. Our results demonstrate that prairie dogs and kangaroo rats have keystone-level impacts on these lizard communities. Their burrow systems provided important habitats for multiple lizard species, especially the lesser earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata). At the landscape-scale, the total number of lizards was two-times greater on the where both prairie dogs and banner-tailed kangaroo rats co-occurred than where only kangaroo rats occurred.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

173

Additional Project roles: 

340
341

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev173_pdoglizardplot_01312006.txt

Methods: 

Sampling Design

The landscape-scale plots were 180 m x 180 m. Lizards were visually sampled along strip transect lines established along each gridline of the landscape-scale plots, using a 5 x 5 grid array. Strip transects on the landscape-scale plots measured 1 m x 30 m.

Methods & Experimental Design

Landscape-scale plots: We compared lizards on plots occupied by: 1) both species (Pdog+Krat plot); 2) only kangaroo rats (Krat plot); and 3) both species, but where prairie dogs inhabited one half of the plot and kangaroo rats inhabited the other half (Transition plot).

Field Methods

Lizards were sampled by walking slowly along each transect, and individuals were counted and  identified to species. Lizards were always sampled in the morning between 9:00 - 11:00 am. Lizards were sampled throught the springand summer from spring 2000 through late summer 2002.

Maintenance: 

These metadata were obtained from Ana Davidson in a Word File. The data are in an Excel file that accompanies the metadata. -- KLV 1/31/2006

Additional information: 

Additional Information on the personnel associated with the Data Collection / Data Processing

Field Crew Member: Julie McIntyre

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Pino Gate

Study Area Location: The study site was located near the base of the Los Pinos mountains and directly adjacent to the nothern fencline of the SNWR at Pino Gate

Elevation: 1600 m

Vegetation: Burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), sand dropseed (Sporobolus ryptandrus), and black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) were the dominant vegetation.

Soils: Deep clayey loam soils

Geology: On an upper bajada slope, in a broad swale

Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5°C and 25.1°C, respectively.

Site history: Historically, prairie dogs were common throughout the area, but were exterminated by the early 1970’s (John Ford, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, personal  communication). Gunnison’s prairie dogs began to re-colonize the study site from adjacent private land in 1998. During our study, the colony occurred within a 5 ha area, near the base of the Los  Piños Mountains in an area with deep clayey loam soils. The site has been long inhabited by kangaroo rats, and represents typical northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland.

North Coordinate:34.406954
South Coordinate:34.406954
East Coordinate:106.606269
West Coordinate:106.606269

Pino Gate Prairie Dog Study: Landscape-scale Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Plot Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-2001)

Abstract: 

Keystone species have large impacts on community and ecosystem properties, and create important ecological interactions with other species. Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) are considered keystone species of grassland ecosystems, and create a mosaic of unique habitats on the landscape. These habitats are known to attract a number of animal species, but little is known about how they affect arthropod communities. Our research evaluated the keystone roles of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats on arthropods at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, USA. We evaluated the impacts of these rodents on ground-dwelling arthropod and grasshopper communities in areas where prairie dogs and kangaroo rats co-occurred compared to areas where each rodent species occurred alone. Our results demonstrate that prairie dogs and kangaroo rats have keystone-level impacts on these arthropod communities. Their burrow systems provided important habitats for multiple trophic and taxonomic groups of arthropods, and increased overall arthropod abundance and species richness on the landscape. Many arthropods also were attracted to the aboveground habitats around the mounds and across the landscapes where the rodents occurred. Detritivores, predators, ants, grasshoppers, and rare rodent burrow inhabitants showed the strongest responses to prairie dog and kangaroo rat activity. The impacts of prairie dogs and kangaroo rats were unique, and the habitats they created supported different assemblages of arthropods. Where both rodent species occurred together on the landscape, there was great habitat heterogeneity and increased arthropod diversity.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

195

Additional Project roles: 

347
348

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev195_pdogarthroplot_01132009.txt

Methods: 

Experimental Design

We compared the ground-dwelling arthropods on plots occupied by: 1) both species (Pdog+Krat plot); 2) only kangaroo rats (Krat plot); and 3) both species, but where prairie dogs inhabited one half of the plot and kangaroo rats inhabited the other half (Transition plot).

Sampling Design

The landscape-scale plots were 180 m x 180 m. On each landscape-scale plot, pitfall traps were installed using a 5 x 5 grid array and placed at 30 m intervals along each transect line.

Field methods

The pitfall traps were made of 10 oz plastic cups inserted into 12 oz cans, buried with the rim of the cup flush with the ground. Traps were filled with non-toxic propylene glycol as the trapping and preservation agent, and ceramic tiles (0.23 m x 0.23 m) were elevated over the traps. Traps were opened for one month, both during spring (May) and fall (September), from spring 2000 through fall 2001.

Laboratory Procedures

Arthropod samples were sorted and identified in the laboratory. Only ground-dwelling taxa were considered. The pitfall dataset resulted in 218 species (from both plot and mound samples). Most taxonomic groups were identified to species, but weevils (Curculionidae), velvet ants (Mutillidae), and spider wasps (Pompilidae) were grouped at higher taxonomic levels and not included in species richness analyses. Nymphs of crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders could not be identified to species. Arthropod voucher specimens from this study were deposited in the collection of the Arthropod Division, Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) at the University of New Mexico (UNM).

Maintenance: 

1/09/2009 -YX. The metadata was entered by Yang Xia from metadata supplied by Ana Davidson
1/17/2008 (Yang Xia) - updated and modified metadata to correct format; - Checked data for missing data points and errors

Additional information: 

Additional Personnel in Collecting Data/Samples

Julie McIntyre assisted in field data collection.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Pino Gate

Study Area Location: The study site was located near the base of the Los Pinos mountains and directly adjacent to the
nothern fencline of the SNWR at Pino Gate

Elevation: 1600 m

Vegetation: Burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius), sand dropseed (Sporobolus ryptandrus), and black grama
(Bouteloua eriopoda) were the dominant vegetation.

Soils: Deep clayey loam soils

Geology: On an upper bajada slope, in a broad swale

Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5°C and 25.1°C, respectively.

Site history: Historically, prairie dogs were common throughout the area, but were exterminated by the early 1970’s (John Ford, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, personal  communication). Gunnison’s prairie dogs began to re-colonize the study site from adjacent private land in 1998. During our study, the colony occurred within a 5 ha area, near the base of the Los Piños Mountains in an area with deep clayey loam soils. The site has been long inhabited by kangaroo rats, and represents typical northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland

North Coordinate:34.406954
South Coordinate:34.406954
East Coordinate:106.606269
West Coordinate:106.606269

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