Great Basin Naturalist


A series of removal experiments were performed on Dipodomys merriami, D. microps, and Perognathus longimembris to test for the importance of competition for food and microhabitats in a heteromyid community in the Great Basin Desert. Each of these species was removed singly to determine the short-term effects on the microhabitat preferences of the remaining species. We correctly predicted, based on differences in diet, that the removal of D. microps (a foliovore) would have no effect on D. merriami or P. longimembris (granivores). Using the dominance hierarchy theory, we correctly predicted that removal of a larger heteromyid, D. merriami, would have an effect on the microhabitat use of the smaller P. longimembris, but not vice versa. While our results offer strong evidence of competition for food and microhabitats, the short-term reactions were weak compared to the long-term reactions found in other studies of heteromyids.