Date of Award

Fall 1980

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Frank P. Day, Jr.

Committee Member

Gerald F. Levy

Committee Member

Robert K. Rose

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 B73


Diversity and density of small rodents in the Dismal Swamp are believed to be low. Reasons for this may be excessive predation, heavy interspecific pressure from larger rodents, lack of suitable habitat, low food availability or flooding.

Rodent populations were evaluated using live-traps and pitfall traps in four different Dismal Swamp plant communities. Habitat was compared on the basis of phytomass studies previously reported. Flood levels were recorded during live-trapping sessions. Mast from trees was collected in modified mast collectors, and fed to Peromyscus leucopus in the laboratory. Mast was analyzed for caloric value and nutrient content.

Only two small rodent species were captured: Oahrotomys nuttalli and Peromyscus leuaopus. The low density of these animals is believed to be limited by lack of food combined with unsuitable habitat. Flooding appears to have a great effect on small rodent diversity by preventing the establishment of species that are not at least mediocre Swimmers and somewhat arboreal.


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