University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

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Methods for Experiment 088 -

Field Operations: Fencing

Five of the nine grassland sites are within fenced fields (A, B and C). These plots are enclosed by a fence to exclude mammalian herbivores. Galvanized welded-wire hardware cloth with 6mm x 6mm openings was buried to a depth of 84cm. Additional hardware cloth extends 60cm above the ground, and poultry netting extends to 1.8m above the ground.

Field Operations: Mammal Trapping

Five of the nine grassland sites are within fenced fields (A, B and C). Small mammals are trapped out of these fields as often as possible to keep the resident population low. A list of the number and kind of mammals taken from each field is in the small mammal documentation file. Pocket gophers are trapped out of the fields as soon as they appear. Gopher mounds are then removed and vegetation is unburied.


All sites will collect the dowels on an annual basis for a 10 year period. When the dowels are harvested, the above and below ground sections will be kept separate. If the entire 60cm length is not harvested, or if some of it is missing, then the length missing will be noted. Once the dowels are collected, the fresh and oven dry weight will be determined. Samples will be oven dried in paper bags at 55 degrees C until the mass is stable. Dowels will be rinsed with distilled water to remove adhering soil prior to drying. Any mosses, lichens, fine roots, or other plant parts that have grown into the dowels will be removed prior to harvesting. When the samples are dried, the weight will be recorded and then the samples will be sent to Oregon State University for the final oven dry weight (55 degrees C for 4 days) and preparation for chemical analysis.