Track tubes may help measure impacts of disturbances on small mammals by providing information about the magnitude and timing of fluctuations in relative abundance. We evaluated live-capture and track-tube data from 8 trapping grids to test the utility of track tubes for monitoring abundance of beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus) through time and for comparing relative abundance of beach mice among sites. When averaged across grid sites, track indexes and abundance estimates exhibited strong covariation through time. Associations between the track index and estimated abundance on different grids varied from strong to very poor depending on sample period. Associations between track indexes and abundance estimates were strong when mouse densities on all grids were relatively low, but they were weak during other sample periods when densities were highly variable among grids. This study points to the need to understand factors that influence the relationship between indexes from track tubes and mouse abundance before track tubes can be used to compare abundances among sites.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3