Diet of the Mogollon vole as indicated by stable-isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N)

Carol L. Chambers, Richard R. Doucett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are no published studies on the diet of Mogollon voles (Microtus mogollonensis) although this species occurs throughout the Southwest in montane forestlands. Mogollon voles are believed to be herbivorous, selecting the vegetative portion of grass as their dominant food source. Herbivores frequently select more easily digested C3 plants over C4 plants; we thus expected Mogollon voles would feed primarily on C3 plants. We collected hair samples from Mogollon voles captured in northern Arizona between 1967 and 2003 and plant samples from some capture sites. Then we compared stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios to investigate dietary preferences for C3 or C4 plants. Mean isotope ratios for C3 plants we sampled were -26.84‰o (s = 0.17) for δ13C and -0.02‰ (s = 0.32) for δ15N. For C4 plants, mean isotope ratios for δ13C and δ15N were -15.04 ‰ (s = 0.38) and -0.74‰ (s = 0.55), respectively. Mogollon voles were largely herbivorous based on δ15N (mean and standard error: 3.77 ± 0.17‰) and used C3 plants more than C4 based on δ13C (-24.21 ± 0.14‰). Activities that lead to changes in plant species composition or reduction in C3 plants in montane grasslands and forests (e.g., excessive ungulate grazing) may reduce habitat quality for Mogollon voles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Fingerprint

C3 plant
C3 plants
stable isotopes
stable isotope
diet
C4 plant
C4 plants
isotopes
isotope
Microtus
nitrogen isotope
ungulate
habitat quality
ungulates
hair
trichomes
voles
analysis
herbivore
herbivores

Keywords

  • Carbon stable isotope
  • Diet
  • Livestock grazing Arizona
  • Microtus mogollonensis
  • Mogollon vole
  • Nitrogen stable isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Diet of the Mogollon vole as indicated by stable-isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N). / Chambers, Carol L.; Doucett, Richard R.

In: Western North American Naturalist, Vol. 68, No. 2, 06.2008, p. 153-160.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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