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Stoddard, M. A., Miller, D. L., Thetford, M., & Branch, L. C. (2019). If you build it, will they come? Use of restored dunes by beach mice. Restor Ecol, 27(3), 531–537.
Abstract: Restoration of coastal habitat fragmented, degraded, or destroyed by development and climate-related processes such as sea level rise and storm surge usually involves planting native plants to restore habitat structure, but whether and how restored areas benefit taxa other than plants is rarely reported. Installing restoration plantings is one method used to build habitat such as beach dunes where dunes have been lost, potentially creating habitat for dune-dependent species. We compared use of natural vegetated dunes, open sand gaps, and restoration plantings (habitat treatment) by Perdido Key beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis) over 3years using tracking tubes to assess the value of restoration plantings for beach mice. Tubes were monitored in two seasons (early and mid-summer), and under new and full moon conditions. Mice used restoration plantings less than natural vegetated dunes but more than open sand gaps, which suggests restoration plantings may facilitate movement of mice across fragmented areas. Both season and moon phase influenced the effect of habitat treatment, interactions which may be attributable to perceived risk associated with movement under a combination of different conditions of ambient light, vegetation cover, and habitat novelty. Our results show restoration plantings provide habitat for movement and foraging, and may ameliorate some consequences of sea level rise and storms for beach mice and potentially other dune-dependent species into the future.