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SGS-LTER Long-term Monitoring Project: Carnivore Scat Count on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado, USA 1997 -2006, , ARS Study Number 98

Metadata Updated: November 10, 2020

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado (http://digitool.library.colostate.edu/R/?func=collections&collection_id=...). The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. Additional information and referenced materials can be found: http://hdl.handle.net/10217/83392 Carnivores are among the most conspicuous, charismatic and economically important mammals in shortgrass steppe, yet relatively is little is known about their populations or of the ecological factors that determine their distribution and abundance, in part because densities tend to be low. Mammalian carnivores represent the top predators in grassland food webs, consuming rodents, rabbits, young ungulates and other small vertebrates. In addition, shortgrass steppe is the primary habitat of the swift fox (Vulpes velox), a species of special conservation concern throughout most of its range. Fox populations are thought to be limited by predation from coyotes (Canis latrans), the most common carnivore in these grasslands and a species of interest, both for its ecological roles and well as a target species for human exploitation, ie hunting and predator control. In 1994, we implemented a low-intensity sampling scheme to monitor long-term changes in relative abundance of mammalian carnivores and help us examine interactions between these predators and their small mammal prey, including rodents and rabbits. We estimated relative abundance of carnivores using scat surveys along a fixed route. Four times each year (January, April, July, October), we drove a 32-km route consisting of pasture two-track and gravel roads on the CPER. We first drove the route to remove all scats (‘PRE-census’); we then returned ~14 d later and counted the number of scats deposited on the route (‘CENSUS’). We recorded the species that deposited the scat and estimated the scat age based on external appearance (4 categories). Beginning in 1997, we recorded the vegetation (habitat) type and topographic position of all scat locations to describe habitat use. Latrines are indicated by locations containing multiple scats. We used the ‘CENSUS’ data to calculate a scat index, defined as the number of scats deposited per km of road per night. The scat index can be used to estimate population density using equations for coyotes (Knowlton 1982) and swift foxes (Schauster et al. 2002) that described the rate of scat deposition from surveys where density was known. To estimate density and compare trends among seasons and years, we omitted scats collected along the 8.3 km of the route that occurred on gravel county roads. These roads are graded sporadically, sometimes between pre-census and census surveys, which tended to remove scats. (NOTE: these observations are NOT omitted in the dataset).

Access & Use Information

Non-public: This dataset is not for public access or use. Specific details are provided below. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

Downloads & Resources

No file downloads are available because this is not a public dataset. See Access & Use Information for details.

Dates

Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from USDA JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020
Publisher Agricultural Research Service
Unique Identifier Unknown
Maintainer
Identifier knb-lter-sgs.135.17
Data Last Modified 2020-08-25
Public Access Level non-public
Bureau Code 005:18
Metadata Context https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.jsonld
Schema Version https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema
Catalog Describedby https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.json
Program Code 005:040
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 686149aa2f3285e5875435924461f4909e657e43
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial POLYGON ((-104.785833 40.8575, -104.730556 40.8575, -104.730556 40.800278, -104.785833 40.800278))

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