In class, we talked about fire-driven succession in relation to gymnosperm cones opening, and that's pretty metal (is that scientific enough for this blog?), so I was looking for a paper related to this. However, the zoologist part of me won out, and the paper I found ended up being about how this type of succession affects small mammals.
Here's the link to the paper: http://ucelinks.cdlib.org:8888/sfx_local?sid=google&auinit=P&aulast=Masters&atitle=The+effects+of+fire-driven+succession+and+rainfall+on+small+mammals+in+spinifex+grassland+at+Uluru+National+Park,+Northern+Territory&id=doi:10.1071/WR9930803&title=Wildlife+research&volume=20&issue=6&date=1993&spage=803&issn=1035-3712
(If anyone can tell me how to make that link shorter, please comment below or let me know during class. Thanks!)
I found the most interesting parts of this study to be that did not involve the dissection of any specimens (which greatly surprised me) and the use of traps. I had never heard of some of these sampling methods used (i.e. the wheel-point apparatus for plants or Elliott traps for the mammals), and I was also intrigued by the fact that the study calculated how much energy was required to maintain the rodents versus the marsupials (the latter was found to be stable while the former fluctuated). Though I did not entirely understand how this was calculated (the paper cited a formula by Nagy that I have yet to look into), I was curious about how and why this was found. The study originally seemed more “basic” (for lack of a better word) in that it appeared to just consider “what’s there and how many,” so I wonder if this calculation was simply something Masters became curious about once the study started or once he had the data. This made me wonder more about which questions and discoveries were entirely accidental or have just been pursued because they seemed interesting. I found the idea that many of them might be to be somewhat amusing yet comforting.