Population Density and Habitat Use of the Southern Flying Squirrel
Instructor: Todd Fredericksen, Ph.D.
One student interested in wildlife and conservation biology. The two faculty members
and students working on Dr. Stevens's project and Dr. Fredericksen's two projects
will work together as a research group.
Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys volans) occur throughout deciduous forests of
Virginia. Habitat features shown to be important for this species include mature deciduous
trees, cavity trees, proximity to water, mast producing trees, higher shrub layer
stem density, and a relatively sparse midstory. While many forest stands have these
conditions in southern Virginia and the species is considered common throughout the
state, I have observed that Southern Flying Squirrel populations can be highly variable
in different forest stands. For example, one forest stand on the campus of Ferrum
College near Chapman Pond has a high population of this species with frequent captures
over a series of years. Some other mature forest locations on campus have few to no
recorded captures. The objective of this study is to compare population densities
of the Southern Flying Squirrel at this site with other mature forest sites on campus
and asses which habitat variables may best explain the variation in population densities.
The student will search the primary literature on the Southern Flying Squirrel, particularly
regarding habitat requirements. The student will trap and tag flying squirrels for
two four-day periods at four different mature forest sites on campus. Habitat data
will also be collected at each site related to food, water, cover, and nesting sites.
The student will fit different squirrels with a radio transmitter harness in order
to estimate home range. The student will present a poster on this research.
Todd Fredericksen, Ph.D.
Dr. Todd Fredericksen is Associate Professor of Forestry and Wildlife in the School
of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Ferrum College in Virginia. He teaches courses
in forestry, wildlife, ecology, natural resource management, conservation biology,
and natural history. His research interests include the effects of natural and anthropogenic
disturbances on biodiversity, natural history and conservation of animal species in
the Blue Ridge Mountains, tropical and temperate silviculture, and forest regeneration
ecology. He has served as an editor for the journal Forest Ecology and Management
since 2007 and serves on the editorial boards of three other scientific journals.
He is currently President of the Virginia Natural History Society.
If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Fredericksen
directly at TFredericksen@ferrum.edu.