Black Tailed Prairie Dogs : Long Term Reproductive Success Essay
To expand on the previous research of John L. Hoogland, we plan to study black-tailed prairie dogs’ long-term reproductive success. We expect long-term reproductive success will increase as the population of helpers increases. We hope to receive a $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation to complete this extensive research. We will study the black-tailed prairie dog population in an area of approximately 160 kilometers (km) within the Great Plains region of north-central Kansas weekly during breeding season of 12 weeks for 10 years (described in further detail below). My research team will observe twenty-five prairie dog coteries and their burrows (Hoogland 1995). The Great Plains area, the location in which we will perform our study, is 1,300,000 km2 of flat land covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland (Rouse Jr 1974). In addition, the Great Plains area lies west of the Mississippi River, east of the Rocky Mountains, and through the United States to Canada (Rouse Jr 1974).
Standards for Identifying Helpers
Within this study area, we will record the gender of each individual as well as its breeding or non-breeding status. We will determine breeding and non-breeding status through blood tests (further details on this procedure are in the section of Observation of the Control Group). We will consider non-breeding black-tailed prairie dogs as helpers if they are vigilant (sentineling >1 min), feed, and/or groom (for >5 secs) the offspring and perform…