Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Robert K. Rose

Committee Member

A. Scott Bellows

Committee Member

Deborah Waller

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 B45 2010


From Dec 2002-Feb 2008, a capture-mark-release study was conducted on 2 Chesapeake, Virginia populations of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). The study sites were effectively 1 ha grids in old fields. Two modified live Fitch-type traps were placed at 12.5 m intervals on grids that were trapped for 3 days each month. In northern North America, voles have distinct breeding cohorts (spring and autumn), experience autumn and winter weight loss, demonstrate both delayed growth and sexual maturation in autumn-born young, have lifespans less than 15 weeks, and average about 35-50 g as adults. Chesapeake voles bred year-round, experienced no seasonal weight loss, autumn-born young exhibited no delayed growth or sexual maturation, lived over 20 weeks, and nearly 20% weighed over 70 g. The longest-lived vole was an 80-week-old male. The heaviest voles were over 90 g and present in late autumn and winter at both sites. Body growth dynamics were different between grids, with voles from 1 grid having lower mean masses (≈52 g) and growth rates (≈1.5g/month), but longer lifespans (≈26 weeks). Voles from the other grid had higher mean masses (≈54 g) and growth rates (≈3g/month), but shorter lifespans (≈21 weeks).


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