Small nocturnal mammals, such as Peromyscus leucopus (White-footed Mouse), tend to avoid open spaces due to the threat of predation. Previous studies have shown that Peromyscus and other small-mammal species are captured at higher frequencies at mature forest sites with higher densities of woody debris. Reported trapping frequencies along forest edges relative to continuous forest have varied in previous literature, possibly due to regional differences in forest composition and Peromyscus distribution. We hypothesized that mice in an urban forest setting would be captured at a higher frequency in trapping sites with higher volumes of woody debris and capture rates would be lower at the edge than the interior. We trapped mice in 100 to 121 Sherman live traps in a permanent 1-ha plot in an urban, fragmented forest on the Meredith College campus in Raleigh, NC over a two-year period. We also measured volume of woody debris at each trapping site in one (2007) of the two years. Between the two years (2007 and 2008), trapping rates of P. leucopus were lower in 2008 than in 2007, but we estimated a higher population size in 2008 than in 2007. We found no correlation between volume of woody debris and number of P. leucopus captured in 2007 and that capture rates did not vary with distance from the forest edge in both years. Our results support previous findings that P. leucopus are nonspecific users of microhabitat, but are contrary to other research that found a positive correlation between amount of woody debris and abundance of Peromyscus.
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Vol. 11 • No. 4