Effects of industrial disturbance on abundance and activity of small mammals

Canadian Journal of Zoology, e-First Articles. Anthropogenic disturbance can negatively impact animal populations and alter the behaviour of individuals. Disturbance associated with the energy sector has been increasing in the boreal forest of northern Alberta. Disturbances associated with the oil and gas industry vary in the infrastructure present and sensory stimuli generated. Two common types are compressor stations and roads. It is important to assess population consequences of disturbance on small mammals because they serve as prey, predators, and seed –spore dispersers in the terrestrial ecosystems that they inhabit. To test the effects of disturbance from the energy sector on the abundance and activity of small mammals, we used mark–recapture methods and live-trapped in forested areas with one side adjacent to a clearing with industrial infr astructure present (road or compressor station) or absent (control sites). We found no difference in abundance or activity of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner, 1845)) and southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi (Vigors, 1830)) between sites and did not detect an edge effect on abundance w ithin sites, regardless of the presence of industrial infrastructure. Our results suggest minimal effects of industrial disturbance on the abundance and activity of these species, and the infrastructure and sensory stimuli generated are unlikely to be key drivers of their population dynamics or beha viour.
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology - Category: Zoology Authors: Source Type: research

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