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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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Biologists have long been interested in the response of small mammals and their habitat following natural disturbances. The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) fires of 1988 have provided opportunities to study short and long term responses. This study continues investigations conducted in the 1990’s following identical methodology at the same sites now 21 years post-fire. We live trapped 256 Clethrionomys gapperi (Red-backed Vole), 116 Peromyscus maniculatus (Deer Mouse), 44 Tamius minimus (Least Chipmunk), 28 Zapus princeps (Western Jumping Mouse), two Microtus montanus (Montane Vole), 1 Thomomys talpoides (Northern Pocket Gopher) and 37 shrews (Sorex ssp.). These results support findings from other investigations regarding the initial early dominance of P. maniculatus in burn areas and C. gapperi in control or non-burn areas, and as time has progressed since the burn, differences between burn and control sites (as measured by community diversity indices) has decreased. As expected calculated Shannon diversity indices (H’) in 2009 are higher for at least one of the burn sites than in previous years as the habitat recovers to pre-burn conditions.