• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Assessing Mammalian Habitat Use on the Boston Harbor Islands

Lauren Nolfo-Clements
Department of Biology
Suffolk University
41 Temple Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 573-8603
e-mail author


Delivered at the 2011 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium

In the summer of 2011, we initiated a pilot study to evaluate the utility of rangers and island visitors in providing baseline observational data of the mammals on the Boston Harbor Islands. Based upon those findings, it is apparent that many medium to large species of mammal utilize the islands intermittently. In contrast, small mammal species are assumed to be permanent residents of the islands on which they are found. A multiyear study designed to assess small mammal populations and habitat use on one of the islands (Bumpkin) revealed a major reduction in Microtus populations and demographic changes in the Peromyscus population. This population crash and concurrent demographic alteration may have been due to changes in resource availability or to the sporadic presence of medium to large mammalian predators on the island.

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