Effects of small mammal communities on seed predation and seed dispersal

PhD student

Scott Appleby

Research Outline

We aim to characterize the influences of tree mixing on small mammal communities and associated seed removal. Specifically, we evaluate how occurrences and abundances of different rodent species are affected by tree mixture using mark-recapture surveys and assess seed preferences of detected small mammal species using seed removal experiments. Furthermore, assess whether differences in small mammal communities alter seed predation rates.

Our initial hypotheses were: 1) Pure stands contain fewer small mammal species than mixed stands, and small mammal diversity in Douglas-fir mixtures is reduced compared to mixtures of Norway spruce. 2) Seed removal depends on tree mixture, with Douglas-fir seeds being avoided in mixtures with beech. Thus, the natural regeneration potential of Douglas-fir is not limited by small mammals in mixed stands.

Principal Investigator / Supervisor

Prof. Dr. Niko Balkenhol, Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology

Fieldwork Impressions