Term of Award

Summer 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Michelle Cawthorn

Committee Member 1

Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

Christine Hladik


Habitat fragmentation can negatively impact population dynamics and movement, thus leading to loss of biodiversity. Oldfield mice (Peromyscus polionotus) are ubiquitous in the southeastern United States within early successional habitats. Early studies on oldfield mice have established important life history characteristics that have provided important insight for management of the imperiled beach mouse subspecies (P. polionotus sp.) along the coast of Alabama and Florida. However, there are few recent field studies that evaluate the population structure and movement of oldfield mice within habitats of varying management and successional stage. This study evaluated oldfield mice over 2-years in southeastern Georgia on 3 sites with varying management histories and successional stages. Population densities of oldfield mice ranged from 0.2 – 1.0 individuals per km2. Populations on sites with regular or recent disturbance were stable or increased in size but declined dramatically on the site with advanced succession. I analyzed home range data from 24 individuals on 2 of the study sites and found home range sizes ranged from 32 m2 – 3,917 m2, with the mean home range of 1,106 m2. Male and female home ranges often overlapped and did not vary seasonally or between sexes. Oldfield mice were found within burrows or other refugia 85% of the time. I observed the greatest densities of burrow use within the core home range dominated by bare ground and grasses. Oldfield mice exhibited patterns of site fidelity and sociality with repeated use of home ranges, frequent burrow sharing, and home range overlap.

Research Data and Supplementary Material