Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Cawthorn



While it is established that animals react to predator cues, little research has been done to assess its effect on foraging patterns and behavior. Foraging patterns are determined by a variety of factors associated with perceived predation risk, such as vegetation cover and moonlight exposure. Predator cues come in many forms, both direct and indirect, and are another indicator of perceived predation risk. Past research suggests that oldfield mice, Peromyscus polionotus, may react to indirect cues (i.e vegetation cover) more often than some direct cues, such as urine of a predator. Other indirect cues, such as vegetation cover and moonlight were minimized. I predicted that hearing a known predator (i.e direct cue) call near a burrow during active hours will significantly increase the GUD, a measure of perceived predation risk. I conducted this experiment between the winters of 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The results were mixed. During the first winter, the GUDs were significantly higher in response to predator calls. In the second trial, GUDs were similar across treatments.Thus, more research needs to be done to determine the effect of auditory predator cues on foraging patterns in Peromyscus polionotus, the common field mouse.