It was a busy field season in Mongolia led by Dr. Mazzamuto! We completed small mammal trapping to evaluate the small mammal assemblage in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Bogd Khan, comparing highly disturbed areas with natural ones. We captured and released more than 150 individuals belonging to 4 species – the Korean field mouse (Apodemus peninsulae), red-backed vole (Myodes rufocanus), Siberian chipmunk (Eutamias sibiricus), and striped dwarf hamster (Cricetulus barabensis). We also surveyed Siberian marmots (Marmota sibirica) to assess their distribution and abundance with the use of a drone.
We have concluded the second year of camera trap data collection to investigate the medium-large mammal community of Bogd Khan from the wildland-urban interface to the core of the protected area.
We also concluded the second year of data collection studying the population dynamics of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in Bogd Khan, comparing between highly disturbed areas and natural ones. Taken together, these three datasets give us a good picture of the mammalian community on Bogd Khan – from mouse to wolf – and how each species is affected by human disturbance.
We are partnered with the Earth Hologenome Initiative (EHI; http://www.earthhologenome.org/) and shipped a total of 75 samples for 4 species to the University of Copenhagen for genomics analysis (S. vulgaris, M. sibirica, M. rufocanus, E. sibiricus). EHI is a global initiative to better understand how gut microbes interact with their host species to affect ecological and evolutionary processes like disease transmission and adaptation to climate change.
Master’s student Jeff Dolphin has additionally completed the data collection for his project investigating wolf and feral dog populations at the urban-wildland interface. He deployed camera traps across Bogd Khan and interviewed locals about their perceptions of wolves and how they handle conflict over livestock. Stay tuned for his results!
Overall a great and productive summer at Bogd Khan Mountain! Thanks to all from the University of Wyoming, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Insubria for their hard work that made this progress possible.