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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Charles Dieter


Biofuels are predicted to become an increasingly important part of the global energy economy. The use of native grasses for production of cellulosic ethanol is an emerging area of research. However, there is a paucity of research related to the expanded use of biofuels in the northern Great Plains. The study presented here is an integral part of an ongoing multidisciplinary research effort assessing the efficacy, establishment, and multiple use potential of 4 biofuels feedstocks for use in the northern Great Plains. Plots of these 4 biofuels feedstocks were established in a randomized block design with multiple replications at South Dakota State University’s Oak Lake Field Station, 30 km NE of Brookings, SD. The purpose of this study was to compare the relative habitat potential for wildlife of these 4 biofuels feedstocks by assessing their ecological effects on resident small mammals. Small mammals play vital roles in the systems they inhabit, and are especially useful in studying the impacts of various environmental variables. This study assessed the effects of feedstocks on deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) home ranges and survival, and compared the small mammal diversity among feedstocks. Small mammals were live-captured across the experimental landscape for 7 months in 2011 and 6 months in 2012 following Pollock’s robust design. There were 4,018 captures (25.73% capture success) of 10 unique species over the 2 years. Deer mice made up a majority (84%) of these captures. Deer mouse home ranges were calculated using the minimum convex polygon method (MCP). 100% MCP was used for the main analysis and 50% MCP was used for cross-validation purposes. Average deer mouse home range across both years was 2,348 m2. Home ranges were negatively correlated with increases in vegetative cover of plots. Year was a significant factor effecting home range, with home ranges being smaller in 2012 than in 2011. Male deer mice had larger home ranges than females (Male = 2,760 m2, Female = 1,923 m2; P = 0.0443). No differentiation of feedstock influence on deer mice home ranges was detected. Robust, multistate, and robust multistate models were built to assess the survival of resident deer mice by controlling for inherent biases within the deer mice population induced by spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Weekly survival for a deer mouse was 0.8624 (SE 0.01). Survival was negatively correlated with increases in vegetative cover. No correlation between feedstock type and deer mouse survival was detected. Small mammal assemblages were compared among feedstocks. Diversity was calculated for the 4 feedstocks using 3 differing metrics: Chao 1 species richness estimator, Shannon diversity index, and Chao-Jaccard species abundance similarity index. Small mammal diversity on the experimental landscape was greater in 2011 than in 2012. There was no strong evidence found for a differentiation of resident small mammal diversity between feedstock types. Lack of detecting significant differences between feedstocks could be attributed to many confounding variables induced by the experimental design. Proactive studies on the potential impacts of novel land use patterns are greatly needed. Further research of the potential impacts to local environs by expanded biofuels production is warranted.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Energy crops
Biomass energy


Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-101)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright 2013 Benjamin Carroll. All rights reserved.