A survey of reintroduced gunnison s prairie d og i mpacts on chihuahuan desert grassland
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A Survey of Reintroduced Gunnison’s Prairie D og I mpacts on Chihuahuan Desert Grassland. Evan Hewitt. Gunnison’s Prairie Dog. Cynomys gunnisoni (GPD) is a graminivorous, social, semi- fossorial mammal related to squirrels

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A survey of reintroduced gunnison s prairie d og i mpacts on chihuahuan desert grassland

A Survey of Reintroduced Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Impacts on Chihuahuan Desert Grassland

Evan Hewitt


Gunnison s prairie dog
Gunnison’s Prairie Dog

  • Cynomys gunnisoni (GPD) is a graminivorous, social, semi-fossorial mammal related to squirrels

  • Species exterminated across much of it’s native range, recently reintroduced on Sevilleta (2010)

  • Prairie dogs are a keystone species

  • Affect species composition, diversity, height, structure, biomass, and productivity


Purpose of research
Purpose of Research

  • Investigate the impact of prairie dogs on vegetation. Across the control and treatment plots, will surveys indicate a significant change in biomass between plots? What about species diversity?

  • Circumstances, behavior and ecology of GPD differs significantly from the more commonly studied black tailed prairie dog (C. ludovicianus).




Results species richness
Results – Species Richness

T-Test

p-value = 0.197692221

No significant difference between treatments on species richness.



A survey of reintroduced gunnison s prairie d og i mpacts on chihuahuan desert grassland

Cover T-Test0.000517437

Significant pvalue

Biomass T-Test0.363673826

Not Significant pvalue


Interpretation
Interpretation

  • The data collected for this study does not readily reflect the impact of GPD on vegetation.

  • Temporal scale, methodological

  • Climate, phenology


Future
Future

  • Yearly and seasonal data collection

  • Augment quadrat sampling with methods such as transects with a greater spatial extent


Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements

  • Partnership between NSF, USFWS, UNM that made this opportunity possible.

  • Amaris Swann, Jon Erz, Stephanie Baker

  • Fellow undergraduate researchers