Defense Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Derek Johnson

Abstract

White-tailed deer are ecosystem engineers that dramatically alter forest understory vegetation. Consequently, deer can impact many species in a forest through both direct and indirect effects. One species that deer may indirectly affect is the gypsy moth, whose pupae are preyed upon by the white-footed mouse. Through alterations to understory habitat of mice, deer may reduce mouse predation on gypsy moth pupae. In this study, I tested for indirect effects of deer on the gypsy moth by comparing mouse abundance, vegetation properties, and predation on pupae inside, and outside, of long-term deer exclosures. Overall, I did not find evidence for indirect effects of deer on the gypsy moth. There was little effect of the exclosures on mouse abundance, predation rates, and habitat measures. High mouse abundances, which likely resulted from a large acorn mast the previous year, may be obscuring indirect effects that would be detected at lower mouse abundances.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Available for download on Monday, May 13, 2019

Included in

Biology Commons

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