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SGS-LTER Graduate Student Research: Cattle use of prairie dog towns on the shortgrass steppe of Colorado - vegetation height data

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado (http://digitool.library.colostate.edu/R/?func=collections&collection_id=...). The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. Additional information and referenced materials can be found: http://hdl.handle.net/10217/83512.

We investigated the use of prairie dog towns by cattle (Bos taurus) on the shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado by conducting surveys of cattle and vegetation from June to August 1999. Cattle presence and behavior were recorded 3 times a week during driving surveys of 15 black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns. A subset of 3 pastures with prairie dog towns was intensively surveyed twice weekly wherein the habitat and activity of a randomly chosen focal animal was recorded every 6 minutes for 3.5 hours. Bite and step counts of other individuals were recorded for 5-minute intervals. Vegetation height and cover data were collected monthly on each of 6 habitats. Results from driving surveys and intensively surveyed pastures were similar; cattle neither significantly preferred nor avoided prairie dog towns. Bare ground cover on prairie dog towns did not significantly differ from most other habitats, but vegetation on prairie dog towns was significantly shorter on (mean = 6.7 cm) than that off (mean = 11.9 cm) prairie dog towns. Nevertheless, foraging observations indicated that there was no significant difference between cattle foraging rates on swales (70.9 bites/min) and prairie dog towns (69.5 bites/min). Thus, cattle on the shortgrass steppe appear to use prairie dog towns in proportion to their availability and, while there, they graze as intensively as they do on habitats not inhabited by prairie dogs.

Dataset Info

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FieldValue
Authors
Long-Term Agroecosystem Research - LTAR
Central Plains
Product Type
Dataset
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-104.785833 40.8575, -104.730556 40.8575, -104.730556 40.800278, -104.785833 40.800278))
Temporal Coverage
2018-04-10/2018-04-10
Contact Name
Detling, James
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Public
License
Funding Source(s)
Program Code
005:037 - Department of Agriculture - Research and Education
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service
Modified Date
2019-02-08
Release Date
1969-12-31

Metadata Source

Harvested from Geodata Harvest
Harvest Source TitleGeodata Harvest
Harvest Source URIhttps://geodata:NAL2geodata@2017@geodata.nal.usda.gov/geonetwork/srv/eng/csw
Last Harvest PerformedTue, 04/10/2018 - 13:22
Ag Data Commons Keywords: 
  • Agroecosystems & Environment
State or Territory: 
Source ID: 
knb-lter-sgs5261