IT'S GETTING HOTTER IN HERE: SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE SURVIVAL AND RECOVERY FOLLOWING WILDFIRE
|Melissa K Riley; CDFW, UC Davis; email@example.com; Katie Smith, Laureen Barthman-Thompson, Sarah Estrella|
Climate change is cited as one of the main threats to endangered species, especially those with small populations that are susceptible to stochastic events that can be exacerbated by such change. An example of this in California is the increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires. In Suisun Marsh, the occurrence of wildfires has increased in recent years threatening species like the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris, SMHM). SMHM are endemic to the marshes of the San Francisco Bay Estuary and have been listed as endangered since the 1970s. While populations are thriving in Suisun Marsh, recent wildfires almost completely burned the vegetation at several SMHM conservation areas. The objective of this study was to quantify how SMHM and associated small mammal populations responded after wildfire events. In most cases SMHM were shown to be resilient, with populations rebounding within one year. However, in areas where vegetation regrowth has been slow, populations remain low. Understanding the response of SMHM to catastrophic events like wildfires will allow managers to better implement conservation efforts in the future as well as understand the effects of management tools like prescribed burns.