Understanding the population forcings of induced forest succession on Peromyscus leucopus

Project Overview
As climate continues to shift across the globe, many forest ecosystems will succumb to the combined stress of temperature, precipitation, and biota shifts. With this in mind, it is essential to understand what effects we are likely to see in the future. In the spring of 2008, a group working at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) began an experiment to examine those effects. Housed near the UMBS AmeriFlux site, the Forest Accelerated Succession ExperimenT (FASET) artificially accelerated succession from an aspen-dominated hardwood forest to a conifer-deciduous mixed forest by girdling the overaged early-successional species, Populus spp. and Betula papyrifera. While a significant amount of research has been undertaken in the past few years to understand the changes in primary productivity and other plant dynamics, no work has been done to understand the other trophic effects of such a large-scale canopy manipulation. Given its importance to the system, we selected the Peromyscus leucopus, or white-footed mouse, as a preliminary study species within FASET. Through live trapping, we hope to examine the short-term effects of the forest experiment on the Peromyscus leucopus populations in northern Lower Michigan. Furthermore, vegetation surveys will allow us to further understand exactly how the canopy manipulation is affecting these populations. Importantly, we anticipate continuing annual studies of the mice populations in these sites to monitor on a longer time scale as succession continues at the FASET study plot.
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