Abstract - Plant-herbivore Interactions in a North American Mixed-grass Prairie II Responses of Bison to Modification of Vegetation by Prairie Dogs

Coppock, D.L, Ellis, J.E., Detling, J.K. and Dyer, M.I. 1983. Plant-herbivore interactions in a North American mixed-grass prairie. II. Responses of bison to modification of vegetation by prairie dogs. Oecologia 56. pp. 10-15.


Studies were conducted during the 1979 growing season to examine how North American bison (Bison bison) use prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Objectives included determining whether bison selected for prairie dog towns parkwide; characterizing in greater detail bison use patterns of a 36-ha colony in Pringle Valley as a function of time since prairie dog colonization; and relating these bison use patterns to measured changes in structure and nutritional value of vegetation on and off the dog town. Prairie dogs facilitate bison habitat selection for a short-grass successional stage in this mixed-grass community by causing a broad array of compositional, structural, and nutritional changes in the vegetation.

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