It's Sunday night, my 7th night here in Nova Scotia, and I've had an amazing time since I got up here over a week ago. After Skyping with my classes on Friday morning, I joined back up with the group and we analyzed all of the data that we collected last week at Cooks Lake. On Saturday, we had a no-research day, and visited the scenic town of Lunenburg, and had a chance to take in the sights and tastes of Canada's first major maritime community. Today, we visited the Kejimkujik National Park (Keji for short), and got back into the research with some deer quadrants and a 3.5 mile hike through an old growth hemlock forest. Unfortunately it has been raining non stop since Friday night, but we're trying to make the best of it.
To summarize what we found with our trapping efforts last week, it appears that the small mammal population is pretty healthy. A hectare is a 100meter by 100 meter, or 1000 square meter area. We trapped in 2 different half-hectares: a scrub slope (small bush, small pines, bramber, grasses), and a forest (moss-covered deadfall, rocks, medium size pine trees, intermittent ponds). In the scrub area, we found meadow voles, pine voles, deer mouse, asked shrew, short tailed shrew, and chipmunk, and he estimated total number of these is roughly 22 per hectare. In the forest, we found red backed vole, white footed mouse, bog lemming, and short tailed shrew, and the estimated total was 104 per hectare.
Using a MATH formula, known as the Schubel Index, we were able to get a solid estimate of the overall number of these animals. Three variables (N, R, and M) where N is the number of new animals found, R is the number of recaptured animals, and M is the number of marked (previously captured) animals except for the last day's results, the formula looks like this:
(N+R/R) x M
This formula gave us a total of about 51 small mammals per hectare for the two areas we looked at. There are strong connections between math (specifically algebra) and the field science that I've been experiencing. It's helpful to have strong logical reasoning skills and the ability to interpret many different sets of data in order to fully understand how the active trapping method works.
This week, we'll be trapping at a new area, called East Port Medway, and we'll also continue with daily deer quadrants. Enjoy the pictures from the last few days, and keep your comments coming!