Pieces of the pygmy rabbit puzzle :space use, survival, and survey indicators


Sanchez, Dana Michelle.. (2007). Pieces of the pygmy rabbit puzzle :space use, survival, and survey indicators. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Pieces of the pygmy rabbit puzzle :space use, survival, and survey indicators
Sanchez, Dana Michelle.
Pygmy rabbit--Conservation--Idaho--Lemhi Valley
Natural Resources
The pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is a sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitat specialist of heightened conservation concern for which data on movements and space use, survival, and socio-spatial ecology previously were limited. We collected diurnal radiolocations for adult pygmy rabbits during 2 breeding and 2 non-breeding seasons at 3 sites in the Lemhi Valley, Idaho, during 2004-2005 in order to better understand factors influencing survival, movements, and space sharing by the species. We also evaluated temporal changes of 2 survey indicators in order to gauge their potential usefulness as tools in assessment of relative and absolute population abundance. We concluded that pygmy rabbits used larger areas than predicted by allometric models and documented by previous investigations, and that sex and season strongly influenced mobility and space use by rabbits. We also documented differences among study sites in many movement and space use parameters (Chapter 1). We demonstrated that many pygmy rabbits shared space and burrow systems. Space sharing between pairs of pygmy rabbits on our study sites did not show significant effects of genetic relatedness. Furthermore, pygmy rabbits did not exhibit temporal partitioning of shared areas at a daily scale (Chapter 2). We detected strong evidence of seasonal peaks in mortality during both spring and autumn. Our results indicated that survival rates of pygmy rabbits are highly variable at relatively fine spatial scales, a factor that must be considered in the design of monitoring and management plans for the species (Chapter 3). We estimated that maximum persistence of fecal pellets would be 24-34 months and observed that burrow systems were remarkably resilient over the course of the study. We suggest that 2 protocols currently.
Thesis (Ph. D., Natural Resources)--University of Idaho, December 2007.
Major Professor:
Janet L. Rachlow.
Defense Date:
December 2007.
Format Original:
xv, 146 leaves :ill., maps ;29 cm.

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