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Effects of trapping effort and trap placement on estimating abundance of Humboldt’s flying squirrelsAuthor(s): Matthew J. Weldy; Todd M. Wilson; Damon B. Lesmeister; Clinton W. Epps
Source: PeerJ. 7: e7783-.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionLive trapping is a common tool used to assess demography of small mammals. However, live-trapping is often expensive and stressful to captured individuals. Thus, assessing the relative tradeoffs among study goals, project expenses, and animal well-being is necessary. Here, we evaluated how apparent bias and precision of estimates for apparent annual survival, abundance, capture probability, and recapture probability of Humboldt’s flying squirrels (Glaucomys oregonensis) varied with the number of secondary trapping occasions. We used data from forested sites trapped on 12 consecutive occasions annually in the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest (9 sites, 6 years) and the Siuslaw National Forest (seven sites, three years) in Oregon. We used Huggins robust design models to estimate parameters of interest for the first 4, 8, and 12 trapping occasions. We also estimated the effect of attaching Tomahawk traps to tree boles on site- and year-specific flying squirrel capture frequencies. Our estimates with 12 occasions were similar to those from previous studies. Abundances and capture probabilities were variable among years on both sites; however, variation was much lower on the Siuslaw sites. Reducing the length of primary trapping occasions from 12 to 8 nights had very little impact on parameter estimates, but further reducing the length of primary trapping occasions to four nights caused substantial apparent bias in parameter estimates and decreased precision. We found that attaching Tomahawk traps to tree boles increased the site- and year-specific capture frequency of flying squirrels. Our results suggest that live-trapping studies targeting Humboldt’s flying squirrels in the Pacific Northwest of the United States could reduce per-site costs and stress to captured individuals without biasing estimates by reducing the length of primary trapping occasions to 8 nights. We encourage similar analyses for other commonly-trapped species in these and other ecosystems.
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CitationWeldy, Matthew J.; Wilson, Todd M.; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Epps, Clinton W. 2019. Effects of trapping effort and trap placement on estimating abundance of Humboldt’s flying squirrels. PeerJ. 7: e7783-. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7783.
KeywordsOregon, mark-recapture, Glaucomys oregonensis, Humboldt’s flying squirrel, live trapping, trap placement, trapping effort.
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