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Summer 2019: Algonquin Small Mammal Project

The Algonquin Small Mammal Project is a long term research project that monitors the small mammals of Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The lines are located around the Wildlife Research Center in Algonquin. It has been running since 1952, making it the longest running study on forest small mammals in North America.

Small mammals are an important part of the forest ecosystem making them good biological indicators, for large scale environmental changes such as climate change. This project helps to answer many questions surrounding these small mammals such as: "In which vegetation type is each species of small mammal found?" and "How does the distribution of each species vary from year to year?"

Objectives of the study:

1. To monitor seasonal and annual patterns of occurrence as well as relative abundance abundance of the species of small mammals that occur in the major forest habitats of Algonquin forest.

2. To identify possible intrinsic or environmental causes for fluctuations in small mammal abundance.

3. To provide the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) with the indices and forecasts to help with the management of fur-bearing predators of small mammals, to assist in habitat assessment, and to help understand the impacts of climate change.

4. To collect baseline data for assessing the impact of varying forest management practices on small mammal populations.

5. To facilitate a greater understanding of the interactions among trophic levels in the forest habitats of the Algonquin region.

Example Journal Publications:

1. Falls, J.B., E. Ann Falls, and John M. Fryxell. 2007. Fluctuations of deer mice in Ontario in relation to seed crops. Ecological Monographs, 77:19-32.

This paper examined the relationships among weather variables, sugar maple seed crops, and mouse populations, using data from trapped deer mice in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada, over a 36-year period.

2. Fryxell, J.M., J. Bruce Falls, E. Ann Falls, and Ronald J. Brooks. 1998. Long-term dynamics of small-mammal populations in Ontario. Ecology, 79: 213-225.

Using 43 years worth of data from Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, this paper tested whether complex non-linear models are necessary to describe dynamics of the Algonquin small rodent populations. The results suggested that the simple logistic models were adequate for predicting the long-term dynamics of the small mammal assemblage in Algonquin.


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