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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Herpetofauna Community Response to Bison (Bison Bison) Grazing in Tallgrass Prairie Remnants

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AUTHORS: Jeremy French, William Penn University; Peter Eyheralde, William Penn University

ABSTRACT: Tallgrass prairie is one of the world’s rarest ecosystems, covering less than 1% of its original range.  Historically fire and large native grazers, such as bison were major forces in the evolution and maintenance of grasslands in North America.  Although the effects of bison grazing on small mammal communities have been widely studied, less understood are the impacts of bison grazing on reptile and amphibian populations.  Much of the research addressing grazing impacts to herpetofauna communities to date, has focused on grazing by domestic livestock in areas outside of North America.  Our study was conducted to determine the effects of grazing by bison on the diversity and abundance of native reptiles and amphibians within remnant tallgrass prairies.  Results indicate that both the abundance and diversity of herpetofauna populations is greater in the taller, denser vegetation of ungrazed prairie remnants than in bison-grazed remnants.  It is likely that reptiles are actively selecting these habitats with dense grass cover for thermoregulation and to avoid predation.  Future analyses using ordination are planned to further characterize habitat variable selection by reptile and amphibian species.  We will use occupancy modeling to estimate site occupancy, detection rates within sites, and recolonization and extinction across bison-grazed and ungrazed sites. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer