MODELING HABITAT SUITABILITY AND LANDSCAPE RESISTANCE FOR MEADOW JUMPING MICE IN THE WESTERN GREAT PLAINS

Open Access
Author:
Bowe, Amanda L
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and Geography
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr Jacqualine Grant, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jacqualine Grant, Thesis Supervisor
  • Donna Jean Peuquet, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gary San Julian, Honors Advisor
  • Roger Michael Downs, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Meadow jumping mice
  • Zapus
  • GIS
  • suitability
  • habitat
  • modeling
Abstract:
Since Preble’s Meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) was first listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, there has been controversy over its taxonomic status as a unique subspecies. Some researchers believe Z. h. preblei is actually a subpopulation of a neighboring subspecies, the Bear Lodge Meadow jumping mouse. (Z. h. campestris). If this were found to be the case, Z. hudsonius might not require federal protection in the state of Wyoming and the restrictions on land use and development for private landowners could be lifted. The goal of this study was to identify suitable habitat patches capable of supporting intermediate populations of Z. hudsonius, which could facilitate gene flow between the two populations. A shared gene pool could indicate the two populations are not distinct subspecies. Geographic Information Science (GIS) was used to model the suitability of habitat in the region between the known ranges of Z. h. preblei in southeast Wyoming and Z. h. campestris in western South Dakota. Five primary habitat suitability models were generated based on literature review and expert opinions using ArcGIS 9.3 and the Corridor Design Toolkit. Of these models, three showed significant patches of suitable habitat within the analysis area, suggesting portions of the analysis areas could potential support intermediate populations of Z. hudsonius. Two key areas of higher suitability were identified, which should be further evaluated to determine if intermediate Z. hudsonius populations are actually present at these locations.