Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preble's meadow jumping mouse at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Zapus hudsonius preblei
A Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) after being released

For 12 years, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program has been helping the U.S. Air Force Academy monitor and manage the populations of Preble's meadow jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius preblei) found on the Academy. One tool CNHP is using is a long-term mark-recapture study of the Preble's mouse population inhabiting the riparian shrublands along Monument Creek.

Monument Creek
Monument Creek and the adjacent shrublands inhabited by Preble's meadow jumping mice

Each summer researchers return to the same sections of Monument Creek to capture and mark individual Preble's mice. By marking new individuals and recapturing previously tagged individuals, researchers can estimate population parameters, such as survival and abundance. This year, CNHP zoologist and project lead Rob Schorr was accompanied by zoologist Bobby Weidmann and volunteer Molly McGee. Rob has been coordinating the trapping since its inception in 1999, and Bobby returned to the Academy after helping Rob sample in 2004 and 2005. Molly made her first visit to the Academy while on summer break from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Molly McGee and Rob Schorr in the shrublands of Monument Creek

 Rob Schorr with Preble's meadow jumping mouse
Rob Schorr pointing out the distinctive large hind feet and long tail of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse

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