Determinants of capture-recapture success: an evaluation of trapping methods to estimate population and community parameters for Atlantic forest small mammals
Barros, Camila S.Püttker, ThomasPinotti, Bruno T.Pardini, Renata
Zoologia (Curitiba)Zoologia (Curitiba)
ABSTRACT Efficiently obtaining high-quality data on animal populations and communities is paramount for ecological and conservation studies. In many instances these data come from live-trapping, the success of which depends on various factors, such as the interaction between the trap's mechanisms and the morphological or ecological characteristics of the animals, and weather conditions that can affect both trap efficiency and animal behavior. Integrative approaches that address the simultaneous effects of these factors on capture-recapture success are rare. Here we contribute to close this knowledge gap by focusing on a large capture-recapture dataset from three 2-ha grids monitored for approximately two years (totaling 55.000 traps-night) in the Morro Grande Forest Reserve, São Paulo, Brazil. The dataset contains data on 3608 captures of 1273 individuals from 24 species of Atlantic forest small mammals. We evaluated if mortality rates and the capture-recapture success of small mammals varied between two types of trap (Sherman and pitfall), and if the capture success of each type varied with age and sex of individuals, and with weather conditions. Our findings highlight that trap efficiency depends not only on the quantities considered (species, individuals or recaptures), but also on animal characteristics and weather conditions. Large pitfall traps should be used whenever the focus is on biodiversity and community parameters, since they captured more individuals and species. Studies focusing on demographic parameters require the combined use of pitfall and Sherman traps. While pitfall traps captured a larger number of individuals and a higher proportion of juveniles, Sherman traps provided higher recapture rates for most species.
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