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Foraging decisions are often critically important to species’ fitness and survival. The importance of these decisions have been documented for small mammals and indicate that habitat conditions influence predator vigilance and resource acquisition. Powerlines are a prevalent landscape component found across the southeastern U.S. and, while they potentially influence animal activity and habitat use, their impact is poorly understood. Our objective for this project was to assess the influence of a powerline on small mammal foraging within Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve in Hall County, GA. To achieve our objective, we used feeding stations containing a mixture of sand and sunflower seeds and measured the giving up density (GUD) after one week, with the assumption that small mammals seeking to balance predator vigilance and exposure with acquisition of food will consume more resources when they feel least threatened. Feeding stations were placed at varying distances from the powerline edge and GUD was modeled using linear regression to assess the influence of distance to edge, vegetation cover, and habitat type on foraging. Preliminary analyses indicate that giving up density was lower (i.e., animals consumed more seeds) as distance into the powerline increased. Our results suggest that powerlines are used by foraging small mammals, but that the rodents avoid use of powerline edges. This result generally agrees with previous research that indicates predation risk is higher along the edge of a habitat than within the interior. Future efforts will focus on increasing our sample size and determining if our results persist throughout seasons.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
144 MB



  • Subject
    • Biology

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event date
    • 17 April 2020

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Michael Bender