Modeling meso-mammal cave use in Central Texas
Authors: Andrea E. Montalvo, Roel R. Lopez, Israel D. Parker, Nova J. Silvy, Susan M. Cooper, Rusty A. Feagin
Scat of meso-mammals provides nutrients to cave-obligate species. If there are too few nutrient inputs, cave-obligate species have no resources, but too much and caves are invaded by terrestrial species. Our goal for this project was to determine what combination of variables most influence meso-mammal cave use by building a multinomial regression model using data collected from cave entrances in central Texas. Variables of importance in our model relate to cave accessibility, including the raccoons' (Procyon lotor) and Virginia opossums' (Didelphis virginiana) greater dexterity, and the added bulk from the North American porcupine's (Erethizon dorsatum) quills. Our model can be used to predict and manage meso-mammal cave use in central Texas. This will be especially useful in this region because North American porcupine have only recently expanded their range into central Texas and their prolific nutrient inputs, previously absent from the ecosystem, could endanger cave-obligate species.
Montalvo, A. E., R. R. Lopez, I. D. Parker, N. J. Silvy, S. M. Cooper, R. A. Feagin. 2020. Modeling meso-mammal cave use in central Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 64:43–52.