Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

The Impact of Climatic Extremes on Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus) Populations

Albert K. Langley, Jr. and Donald J. Shure
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 120, No. 1 (Jul., 1988), pp. 136-143
DOI: 10.2307/2425893
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425893
Page Count: 8
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
The Impact of Climatic Extremes on Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus) Populations
Preview not available

Abstract

The impact of weather extremes was examined for cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) populations occupying an Andropogon-dominated old field and a fescue (Festuca spp.) pasture on the Piedmont of Georgia. Cotton rat abundance was greatly reduced in spring 1977 relative to the springs of 1975 and 1976. Record winter cold followed by prolonged drought in spring and summer 1977 was associated with reduced Sigmodon reproduction and an absence of the normal autumn population buildups. The old-field Sigmodon population remained depressed through March 1979, whereas the pasture population became locally extinct after September 1977. Weather-induced habitat modification also occurred in conjunction with the Sigmodon collapses. The old field experienced some Andropogon mortality and a "retrogressive" shift to an earlier successional stage as Solidago, Lespedeza and several other species became established in 1977. Vegetation cover in the old field became patchy as these plant species colonized the area. In contrast, plant species composition remained unchanged in the pasture despite the weather conditions. The reduction in cotton rat abundance in the pasture was associated with a sharp decline in vegetation biomass and cover through 1978.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
136
    136
  • Thumbnail: Page 
137
    137
  • Thumbnail: Page 
138
    138
  • Thumbnail: Page 
139
    139
  • Thumbnail: Page 
140
    140
  • Thumbnail: Page 
141
    141
  • Thumbnail: Page 
142
    142
  • Thumbnail: Page 
143
    143