Peromyscus maniculatus & Microtus pennsylvanicus show no habitat differentiation in Biocore Prairie – Lauren Brooks

(Hilldale Award recipient)

Two rodent species Peromyscus maniculatus and Microtus pennsylvanicus are known to coexist within prairie ecosystems. Despite overlapping resource requirements, I hypothesized that these species exhibit habitat differentiation, with M. pennsylvanicus found in higher abundance in areas of high ground cover and litter accumulation, whereas P. maniculatus would be found in higher abundance in areas of lower litter in Biocore Prairie. Using a mark-recapture method, four transects of 20 traps each were set in locations that varied in plant height and high to low litter levels for a total of 13 nights. With a high abundance of 152 animals captured, I found no statistical difference in abundance of the two species based on plant height and litter density, or based on plant species present.