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A picture is worth a thousand data points: an imagery dataset of paired shrub-open microsites within the Carrizo Plain National Monument.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Carrizo Plain National Monument (San Joaquin Desert, California, USA) is home to many threatened and endangered species including the blunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila). Vegetation is dominated by annual grasses, and shrubs such as Mormon tea (Ephedra californica), which is of relevance to our target species, the federally listed blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and likely also provides key ecosystem services. We used relatively nonintrusive camera traps, or trail cameras, to capture interactions between animals and these shrubs using a paired shrub-open deployment. Cameras were placed within the shrub understory and in open microhabitats at ground level to estimate animal activity and determine species presence. FINDINGS:Twenty cameras were deployed from April 1st, 2015 to July 5th, 2015 at paired shrub-open microsites at three locations. Over 425,000 pictures were taken during this time, of which 0.4 % detected mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles including the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Trigger rate was very high on the medium sensitivity camera setting in this desert ecosystem, and rates did not differ between microsites. CONCLUSIONS:Camera traps are an effective, less invasive survey method for collecting data on the presence or absence of desert animals in shrub and open microhabitats. A more extensive array of cameras within an arid region would thus be an effective tool to estimate the presence of desert animals and potentially detect habitat use patterns.

SUBMITTER: Noble TJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5041587 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.5524/100191

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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