HABITAT SUITABILITY MODELING OF PEROMYSCUS PECTORALIS (WHITE-ANKLED MOUSE) IN VAL VERDE CO., TEXAS
Morgan, Clint Newman
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The goal of this work was to utilize habitat suitability modeling and spool-and-line tracking to delineate habitat use and distribution of the White-ankled mouse (Peromyscus pectoralis), within the Devils River State Natural Area – Big Satan Unit (DRSNA - BSU), in Val Verde County, Texas. Using trapping data from a 21 month period (February 2013 - October 2014), MaxEnt modeling was used to determine which of 7 environmental variables contributed the most to the species distribution at DRSNA - BSU, and a species distribution map was generated. A jackknife test of variable importance determined vegetation series and slope as the highest contributing variables in isolation. Generalized linear modeling was then used to compare trap-line abundance indices to the percentages of individual vegetation series within a buffered area around the trap-line. Positive correlations with higher abundance indices were observed in winter, spring, and fall among a variety of vegetation series. Using spool-and-line tracking, P. pectoralis was determined to be highly mobile indicating that this species is capable of dispersing to areas of greater resource availability. Data suggest that vegetative habitat selection of this species varies seasonally and is likely dependent on the degree of seasonal resource availability within each vegetation type and the trophic ecology of P. pectoralis.