The construction of wildlife crossing structures (WCS), wildlife guards (WG), and exclusionary/guide fences along State Highway 100 and Farm-to-Market Road 106 in south Texas was intended to mitigate wildlife road mortalities and maintain landscape connectivity. The effects of these types of road mortality mitigation structures on rodent abundance and rodent species presence are not fully understood, both on the regional scale of south Texas and in the broader field of road ecology. This is primarily due to the low conservation priority of most rodent species and the difficulty of noninvasively surveying for rodents effectively. In this study we evaluate whether rodent communities observed around road mortality mitigation structures are different from those observed at habitat and exclusionary fence reference sites. Data was gathered using photo booths built for small mammals deployed at WCS, WG, mitigation fencing, and habitat reference sites. The collected data was analyzed utilizing a PERMANOVA test to determine if significant differences in rodent communities and activity exist between site categories while accounting for other factors. This research contributes to furthering the understanding of rodent road ecology, and may also have implications for how rodent predators, including federally endangered ocelots, interact with WCSs and WGs.
Terrestrial wildlife (vertebrate and/or invertebrate) and ecosystem interactions