White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) habitat selection and Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) canopy use in an urban forest.
Urban parks undergo significant changes in their community composition and habitat structure as a result of anthropogenic land-use changes. Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) dominates invaded urban parks and changes the vegetative community. This study examines the impact of L. maackii on white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) foraging behavior and habitat selection. Detailed vegetative and structural surveys allowed for analysis of habitat use. A capture-mark-recapture study was conducted in both the terrestrial and arboreal environment. We found that P. leucopus increased preference for the honeysuckle canopy when berries and leaves were present, but the primary habitat component selected for was coarse woody debris (CWD). Peromyscus leucopus appeared to avoid areas heavily trafficked by people, regardless of habitat. We demonstrated that urban P. leucopus could adjust to the presence of a dominant invasive plant, but still appeared to retain a threshold tolerance for human presence. The arboreal behavior of P. leucopus suggests L. maackii can provide desirable habitat and has practical implications for nesting birds through egg predation. Strong avoidance of human paths by P. leucopus has practical implications for Lyme disease transmission.