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Old 09-10-2014, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default Prairie dogs = diversity

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"If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.” ~Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce
Video of prairie dog release and information. Less than five minutes it shows how prairie dogs are removed from farms and cities where they are in danger as pests, then tagged and released into pre-dug caged burrows for monitoring and acclimation, then full release. Discusses the role of prairie dogs in creating habitat for other creatures and as prey for some.
SNWR Summer 2014 - YouTube
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:36 PM   #2
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A comparison of herpetofauna and small
mammal diversity on black-tailed prairie dog
(Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies and non-colonized
grasslands in Colorado
B.K. Shipley, R.P. Reading
Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St., Denver, Co 80205, USA
Received 1 February 2005; received in revised form 28 August 2005; accepted 24 October 2005

http://www.plainscenter.org/uploads/snake_research.pdf

A 40 page document with results and discussion on pages 35 through 38.

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Abstract
Research suggests that prairie dogs play a keystone role in grassland ecosystems.

We examined the relationship between black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and herptiles and small mammals in eastern Colorado.

Using pitfall traps, funnel traps, and ground captures, we captured a
total of 152 herptiles representing 10 species. Captures of herptiles and small mammals varied with annual precipitation. As predicted, we captured some species more frequently on colonies and others more commonly off colonies. Bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer) and prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus v. viridis) comprised 49% of herptiles captured, with significantly more rattlesnakes captured on
colonies, but more bullsnakes (not significant) off colonies. We found similar herptile species richness and both Shannon–Wiener and evenness diversity indices on colonies and off-colony sites, but slightly higher diversity when calculated across the two habitat types.

We inadvertently caught 134
mammals in traps; 59% on colonies and 41% on off-colony sites. Deer mice(Peromyscus
maniculatus)
represented the most frequent mammal caught. Captures of desert cottontail rabbits
(Sylvilagus audubonii) were significantly higher on colonies. Higher species richness and diversity of small mammals was associated with colonies. These results support our hypothesis that the presence of prairie dogs increases diversity between habitats or ecosystems (i.e. beta diversity) on grasslands they inhabit.
r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Finally, although we captured far fewer herptiles during the extreme drought year (2002), we found just the opposite for small mammals—far greater captures in 2002 that in 2001 or 2003.

We hypothesize that while herptiles were less likely to move, emerge from
below ground, or reproduce during the drought, the severe conditions may have induced greater movement in small mammals who were forced to travel greater distances to forage.
Furthermore, plant species composition and distribution altered by drought, in terms of species substitution (native or exotic), could have resulted in increases in primary food production, such as seeds, which attract rodents.
Additional data on movement patterns during drought and non-drought years would help elucidate this issue.
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