Date of Award

Summer 2023


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Biology




Small mammals are an ecologically important component of every landscape on Earth. They are a food source for higher trophic level animals, disperse plant seed and mycorrhizal fungi spore, engineer the landscape through burrowing and foraging activities, and alter plant community composition through selective predation of seed and grain. Studies have shown that small mammals may help facilitate the transition between successive stages in prairie restoration. Eastern Washington University has dedicated 120 acres of campus land to restoration of native prairie habitat. Small mammals can play both a positive and a negative role in restoration, therefore it is important to monitor small mammal community composition. We conducted a baseline survey of resident small mammals on and around the Eastern Washington University Prairie Restoration Project site. Small mammals were live trapped over a 16-week period during Spring and Fall of 2022 at ten sites within a 4 km radius of the restoration site in areas of agricultural wheatfield and natural vegetation. Animals were tagged with individually unique ear tags for mark-recapture analysis. Trapping success was highest at sites located within the restoration site, where ground cover was the highest. The overall most common and abundant species collected was Peromyscus maniculatus, both on and off the restoration site. We saw an increase in abundance for P. maniculatus from Spring to Fall. Mus musculus and Microtus spp. were collected only at sites located within the restoration area. Sorex vagrans was collected at one site, within an agricultural area near a drainage ditch. We conducted STRUCTURE analysis and calculated FIS and FST to determine gene flow occurring between populations of P. maniculatus on and around the EWU Prairie Restoration Site. We found high levels of gene flow occurring between and among all populations. Agricultural fragmentation did not appear to be a barrier to dispersal at this present time.