Native mice in a novel ecosystem: Morphology, behavior, and sociology predict the role of prairie deer mice in agriculture

Date
2014-01-01
Authors
Doudna, John
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Brent J. Danielson
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Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Abstract

Corn-soybean agriculture, the annual rotation of corn planted as a monoculture and then soybean planted as a monoculture, in the Midwestern US represents a novel ecosystem to native species that utilize the habitat. In order to successfully colonize this habitat, native species have had to adapt or maintain pre-adaptations to the novel ecosystem. The prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) is a model organism for studying the adaptations of species to corn-soybean agriculture. They also provide a potentially economically valuable ecosystem service of weed seed predation. Thus, studying the adaptations and behaviors of this species are of critical importance. This knowledge will be most useful, though, if farmers are accepting of the role of nature in agriculture. So, we sought to understand their perspectives on the subject of multifunctional agriculture. The combined results of this dissertation represent a hopeful scenario of highly reliable seed predation behavior and farmers willing to consider nature as an integral part of industrial agriculture.

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