Factors Influencing Mammalian Activity in an Urban Campus Environment

Jacob Reeves Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Julia Angstmann Butler University, Travis Ryan Butler University, Carmen Salsbury Butler University
With growing urban populations across the globe, college campuses have the potential to provide a wide array of resources and habitats to animals living in increasingly fragmented urban environments. Omitting city parks and nature preserves, college campuses provide one of the only large swaths of land that is owned and managed by the same entity over long periods of time. This stable ownership coupled with an investigation of how various campus spaces are utilized by mammals can help land managers maximize these properties for both humans and animals. The present study surveyed the presence/absence of mammals using motion-triggered cameras at eight different locations on Butler University’s campus. Using presence/absence data collected during 2017, correlations of animal activity with spatial location, habitat type, shrub layer density, and various geospatial parameters were explored to determine which habitat variables may drive species activity and diversity. Each camera location represented a spatially and structurally variable campus habitat type (park-like spaces, highland woods, riparian areas, etc.). Shrub density data was determined using the line-intercept method and was selected as a key vegetation parameter because of the high level of invasion by honeysuckle species. Geospatial parameters were quantified using ArcMap and include distance to central campus, distance to water, site isolation, and fractal dimension. Mammalian diversity was the lowest near the campus interior and highest in areas further from the campus center. This will establish spatial and vegetation parameters that may be utilized to inform habitat management on urban college campuses.
Biology
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:15 AM
Gallahue Hall 102