Event Title

The Connection Between The Presence of Woodland Voles and Recovering Oak OpeningsConnection Between The Presence of Woodland Voles and Recovering Oak Openings

Mentor 1

Donna Charley-Johnson

Mentor 2

Dr. Gregory Adler

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:45 PM

Description

The hypothesis to be tested was that Woodland Voles (Microtus pinetorum) are found in higher abundance in Bur Oak Openings that are fully reestablished (recovered from a disturbance and closely resembles its pristine condition). When Wisconsin was first settled there were millions of acres of Bur Oak Openings, and by the 1980’s 99.98% were gone. A strong association is known between the Woodland Voles and Bur Oak Openings. The survey was done over the course of three weeks. Two separate locations were chosen both in Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. One of these locations was determined by visual appraisal to be degraded where the other location was less degraded. 52 Sherman live traps were set along transect lines spaced 10 meters apart and baited. The first day of trapping was used to identify the optimal time to trap. Both the GPS coordinates and photo evidence (when an animal was trapped) were recorded. The data collected from the survey supported the hypothesis that Woodland Voles are more abundant in established Bur Oak Openings. In surveying the less degraded location, 20 animals trapped were determined to be the target species with a high likelihood. Weight and appearance were used to determine the target species of vole. In the more degraded location, under the same conditions, no voles were trapped. There was an absence of all trapped animals in general, which offered strong support that biodiversity was drastically reduced following the degradation of the Bur Oak Opening. These findings have larger implications for the degradation of our landscape. The absence of Woodland Voles is just one species missing from a complicated ecological system. Biodiversity loss is a critical issue in restoring ecosystems. As ecosystems become less diverse they become less resilient to degradation. A positive feedback loop is established where the loss of species causes the ecosystem to become more damaged, thereby creating a less fit habitat. This loop continues on and on. This conclusion further supports the connection between animals and plants in their ecosystem.

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

The Connection Between The Presence of Woodland Voles and Recovering Oak OpeningsConnection Between The Presence of Woodland Voles and Recovering Oak Openings

Union Wisconsin Room

The hypothesis to be tested was that Woodland Voles (Microtus pinetorum) are found in higher abundance in Bur Oak Openings that are fully reestablished (recovered from a disturbance and closely resembles its pristine condition). When Wisconsin was first settled there were millions of acres of Bur Oak Openings, and by the 1980’s 99.98% were gone. A strong association is known between the Woodland Voles and Bur Oak Openings. The survey was done over the course of three weeks. Two separate locations were chosen both in Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. One of these locations was determined by visual appraisal to be degraded where the other location was less degraded. 52 Sherman live traps were set along transect lines spaced 10 meters apart and baited. The first day of trapping was used to identify the optimal time to trap. Both the GPS coordinates and photo evidence (when an animal was trapped) were recorded. The data collected from the survey supported the hypothesis that Woodland Voles are more abundant in established Bur Oak Openings. In surveying the less degraded location, 20 animals trapped were determined to be the target species with a high likelihood. Weight and appearance were used to determine the target species of vole. In the more degraded location, under the same conditions, no voles were trapped. There was an absence of all trapped animals in general, which offered strong support that biodiversity was drastically reduced following the degradation of the Bur Oak Opening. These findings have larger implications for the degradation of our landscape. The absence of Woodland Voles is just one species missing from a complicated ecological system. Biodiversity loss is a critical issue in restoring ecosystems. As ecosystems become less diverse they become less resilient to degradation. A positive feedback loop is established where the loss of species causes the ecosystem to become more damaged, thereby creating a less fit habitat. This loop continues on and on. This conclusion further supports the connection between animals and plants in their ecosystem.