Title of Presentation or Performance

Relative Abundance and Habitat Associations of American Badgers (Taxidea taxus) and Plains Pocket Gophers (Geomys bursarius) in McLean County, Illinois

Type of Submission

Poster

Type of Submission (Archival)

Event

Area of Study or Work

Biology

Faculty Advisor

Given Harper

Expected Graduation Date

2020

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

13-4-2019 10:00 AM

Disciplines

Education

Abstract

Prior to Euro-American settlement in the early 1800’s, approximately 60% of Illinois consisted of prairie, but by 2006 less than 0.01% remained. Despite such losses, prairie-dependent species such as the American Badger (Taxidea taxus) and the Plains Pocket Gopher (Geomys bursarius) persist in intensive agricultural landscapes. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative abundance and habitat associations of both species in McLean County, IL, via roadside automobile surveys on 272.62 km of secondary roads in all 30 townships in 2017 - 2018. We found 88 badger dens (0.32 dens/km) mostly in central and eastern McLean County. Badgers dig multiple dens in a year, and based on home range size in intensive agricultural areas, we estimated 5 - 9 badgers were present in 18 townships. Den locations were apparently not chosen based on the amount of grassland habitat within badger home ranges, as there was no significant difference in the amount of hay/pasture within 5 km around dens (339.40 ± 208.29 ha; x̅ + SD) compared to hay/pasture within 5 km of randomly chosen locations (265.90 ± 307.10 ha; t13 = 0.26, P = 0.64). Likewise, we recorded 245 pocket gopher mounds in 16 clusters (15.31 mounds/cluster; 0.06 clusters/km) in 5 townships, all of which were found in central and eastern McLean County.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 13th, 9:00 AM Apr 13th, 10:00 AM

Relative Abundance and Habitat Associations of American Badgers (Taxidea taxus) and Plains Pocket Gophers (Geomys bursarius) in McLean County, Illinois

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Prior to Euro-American settlement in the early 1800’s, approximately 60% of Illinois consisted of prairie, but by 2006 less than 0.01% remained. Despite such losses, prairie-dependent species such as the American Badger (Taxidea taxus) and the Plains Pocket Gopher (Geomys bursarius) persist in intensive agricultural landscapes. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative abundance and habitat associations of both species in McLean County, IL, via roadside automobile surveys on 272.62 km of secondary roads in all 30 townships in 2017 - 2018. We found 88 badger dens (0.32 dens/km) mostly in central and eastern McLean County. Badgers dig multiple dens in a year, and based on home range size in intensive agricultural areas, we estimated 5 - 9 badgers were present in 18 townships. Den locations were apparently not chosen based on the amount of grassland habitat within badger home ranges, as there was no significant difference in the amount of hay/pasture within 5 km around dens (339.40 ± 208.29 ha; x̅ + SD) compared to hay/pasture within 5 km of randomly chosen locations (265.90 ± 307.10 ha; t13 = 0.26, P = 0.64). Likewise, we recorded 245 pocket gopher mounds in 16 clusters (15.31 mounds/cluster; 0.06 clusters/km) in 5 townships, all of which were found in central and eastern McLean County.