Food availability often drives consumer population dynamics. However, food availability may also influence capture probability, which if not accounted for may create bias in estimating consumer abundance and confound the effects of food availability on consumer population dynamics. This study compared two commonly used abundance indices (minimum number alive (MNA) and number of animals captured per night per grid) with an abundance estimator based on robust design model as applied to the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque, 1818)) in food supplementation experiments. MNA consistently generated abundance estimates similar to the robust design model, regardless of food supplementation. The number of animals captured per night per grid, however, consistently generated lower abundance estimates compared with MNA and the robust design model. Nevertheless, the correlations between abundance estimates from MNA, number of animals captured, and robust design model were not influenced by food supplementation. This study demonstrated that food supplementation is not likely to create bias among these different measures of abundance. Therefore, there is a great potential for conducting meta-analysis of food supplementation effect on consumer population dynamics (particularly in small mammals) across studies using different abundance indices and estimators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology