Date of Award

Fall 1984

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Robert K. Rose

Committee Member

Frank P. Day, Jr.

Committee Member

Lytton J. Musselman

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 S72


Small mammals were trapped for 14 months on two grids located within a powerline right-of-way in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. During 12,354 trap nights, individuals of 10 different species were captured. They included, from highest to lowest density, Reithrodontomys humulis, Ochrotomys nuttalli, Peromyscus leucopus, Blarina brevicauda, Synaptomys cooperi, Microtus pennsylvanicus, Microtus pinetorum, Sigmodon hispidus, Mus musculus and Oryzomys palustris. The demography (densities, reproduction, home range and dispersal) of each species was analyzed when possible. Most of the species were present in relatively low densities, with a number being captured only during the latter months of the study.

The two individuals of Sigmodon represented the first recording of this species within the Dismal Swamp. Synaptomys were taken in the greatest numbers seen since 1895 and although only one individual of Oryzomys was taken, it was the first since the biological surveys of the 1895-1898 period.

The use of discriminant function analysis and cluster analysis revealed that the species formed two distinctive groups. One group, which contained Reithrodontomys, Sigmodon and M. pennsylvanicus, was generally found at those stations in the central areas of the grid, away from the forest edge. This was primarily due to an increase in herbaceous vegetation and corresponding stem densities near the ground at these stations. The second group, which consisted of Ochrotomys, Peromyscus, and Blarina, was usually found at stations located near the ecotone. These stations were high in woody vegetation and average vegetation heights. Synaptomys did not fit well into either of these two groups as it was found in association with those stations which were located in the scattered cane patches.


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