The research project "Diversity and ecosystem function of small mammals in the Lower Oder Valley – an international project" started in 2021 with a pilot project. Now, a German-Polish team of small mammal researchers is investigating the terrestrial small mammal communities in the Lower Oder Valley National Park (Germany) and the Lower Oder Valley Landscape Park (Poland) until 2026.
In this project, small mammals are captured in a variety of habitat types and species diversity, abundances, and habitat preferences are determined. A comparison with the only comprehensive study of the small mammal fauna in this area from 1992 (Schröpfer & Stubbe 1996) will allow conclusions on changes in 30 years. The updated knowledge can contribute to effective management of small mammal populations and the organisms that depend on them.
In four trapping campaigns so far, 13 areas in the northern part of the Lower Oder Valley have been sampled, including meadow and forest areas. With 664 captures in 2,844 trap nights, 380 individuals from twelve small mammal species (four shrew and eight rodent species) were recorded. Despite the still lower number of trap nights compared to previous studies, almost all species known from the Lower Oder Valley National Park could already be detected, albeit in different dominance ratios. The most common species so far are the striped field mouse, yellow-necked vole, bank vole and common shrew. Water shrew, lesser white-toothed shrew and tundra vole were among the rare captures.
We invite students and other interested parties to participate in the next field survey in 2024, also for a longer-term study.