GROUNDHOG (MARMOTA MONAX) BURROW SITE SELECTION BASED ON SOIL MOISTURE, PH, AND TEMPERATURE
The groundhog, Marmota monax, is a species of marmot (giant ground squirrels) found in north Georgia and throughout the Appalachian region into Canada. These large rodents are often trapped or hunted due to their garden infestations and excessive burrowing causing infrastructure issues. However, their underground burrow networks could play an important ecological role by providing vital shelter for foxes, skunks, snakes, and other animals. Very little is known about groundhog ecology, but given their potential role both in food-web dynamics (i.e. prey for mesopredators) and providing habitats for other species, it is an important topic to investigate further. In this study we are measuring soil moisture, pH, and temperature across seasons to determine if there is a correlation in soil characteristics and burrow location preference by groundhogs. To date, we have investigated 15 burrows around Lumpkin County, GA and continue to work on identifying more burrow locations and analyzing the data to determine if any trends exist. Due to the lack of current data, this research could potentially be a step in further understanding the lifestyle and ecological role of these large mountain rodents.
UNG BIOLOGY STEM LAB
Reyes, Natalia Isabel; Patterson, Jessica R.; and Barding, Erin E.
"GROUNDHOG (MARMOTA MONAX) BURROW SITE SELECTION BASED ON SOIL MOISTURE, PH, AND TEMPERATURE,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 79, No. 1, Article 57.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol79/iss1/57