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1 February 2009 Edge Effect on Density Estimates of a Radiotracked Population of Yellow-Necked Mice
Silvia Tioli, Francesca Cagnacci, Anna Stradiotto, Annapaola Rizzoli
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Density estimates for small-mammal populations from capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data have played an important role in many studies of theoretical and applied ecology. Defining effective trapping area (ETA) is one of the main issues affecting accuracy of density estimates. Our objective was to assess sensitivity of CMR density estimates to correctors based on movement parameters calculated from trapping and radiotelemetry data. From May to November 2005, we conducted monthly CMR trapping in a beech (Fagus sylvaticus) forest of the province of Trento, northern Italy. In conjunction with CMR, we radiomarked 32 yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) captured from July to October and located them daily using radiotelemetry. We estimated population size (N) by model averaging with Program MARK. We calculated ETA using several definitions of the boundary strip, including full and half mean maximum distance moved (MMDM) from capture–recapture and telemetry data and mean radius of mean monthly home ranges. The boundary strip (W) increased with the amount of behavioral information embodied in the estimates. The largest W and lowest density values were based on radius of mean home ranges followed by MMDM calculated from telemetry data. The ETA based on movement distances increased more than proportionally when N decreased, suggesting that low population density combined with scarce resources results in rodents moving more in search of food, thus leading to overestimated ETA and underestimated density values. Although robust behavioral information would certainly improve density estimates, we suggest caution in relating ranging movements to capture probability and hence in using correctors based on movement distances to infer density values.

Silvia Tioli, Francesca Cagnacci, Anna Stradiotto, and Annapaola Rizzoli "Edge Effect on Density Estimates of a Radiotracked Population of Yellow-Necked Mice," Journal of Wildlife Management 73(2), 184-190, (1 February 2009).
Published: 1 February 2009

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