Small Mammal Inventory of Alaska's National Parks and Preserves

Preliminary Summary

In July and August of 2002, 2 field crews from the Beringian Coevolution Project (BCP) at Idaho State University sampled the small mammal fauna at 8 base locations (Figure 1) in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (GAAR) for a total of 221 person-days (over 12,874 trap nights of collecting effort). These localities were scattered throughout the Park in a variety of elevations and habitats.

Other participating institutions included the University of Alaska Museum (UAM), USDA National Parasite Lab, University of New Mexico, and The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Vantaa Research Centre). Personnel involved in this field effort included Amy Runck, Heikki Hentonnen, Jukka Niemimaa, Juha Laakkonen, John Bender, Robert Allen, Brandy Jacobsen, and Kyndall Hilderbrandt. Also participating were John Burch, Melanie Cook, and Teri Ball from the National Park Service. Elena Potikha also participated as visiting scientist from Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik (GAAR sister-park). Logistical support was provided by the National Park Service and all voucher specimens of mammals were deposited in the University of Alaska Museum (UAM).

The specific products of this inventory include a large collection of well-prepared, welldocumented, and diverse preparations of mammal specimens and associated materials (tissues, parasites, fecal samples, digestive tracts). A total of 1853 small mammal specimens (excluding embryos) comprising 18 species was archived from the 8 localities (Figures 2 and 3).

Three murid rodents (tundra vole, singing vole, and northern red-backed vole) and a shrew(montane shrew) were the most frequently sampled species (516, 466, 400, and 111 specimens, respectively), comprising over 80% of all specimens collected (Figure 4).

The findings from this study, when combined with specimen information gathered from a preliminary review of holdings in other major collections, bring the total number of documented small mammal species in GAAR to 20 of 22 potential species (Table 1), or 91% coverage.

The discovery of a tiny shrew (Sorex yukonicus) at Fortress Mountain, north of the crest of the Brooks Range, constitutes a new species for GAAR and is a major range extension of this poorly documented species. This inventory also extends the range of the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) northward into the Park and upper Kobuk River drainage, and expands the distributions of the pygmy shrew (S. hoyi), montane shrew (S. monticolus), and cinereus shrew (S.cinereus). The occurrence in GAAR of collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus), tundra shrew (Sorex tundrensis) and barren ground shrew (Sorex ugyunak) is now substantiated with specimens. Specimens of the Alaska marmot (Marmota broweri) from Fortress Mountain and Nunushuk River provided new locality records for this poorly-known and under-represented species.

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Last updated: April 29, 2018

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