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Research

Least Shrew Status in New Mexico:  During Fall 2005 Dr. Frey and students associated with the museum conducted a status assessment of the state threatened least shrew (Cryptotis parva) for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.  The least shrew is one of the smallest mammals on the planet!  The western edge of its distribution is in eastern New Mexico, where it is associated with isolated wetland habitats. Museum associated verified the persistence of all historically known populations and discovered them at several new locations.  Vegetation data collected in conjunction with the surveys helped illuminate the habitat associations of the species so that management recommendations could be made.  Now, students are helping to ready the research for publication in a scientific journal.

Mammals of Padre Island National Seashore, Texas:  For the past two years, graduate student Gerrad Jones has been hard at work surveying mammals on Padre Island National Seashore using various traps, nets, remote cameras, spot lights and other equipment.  This park represents the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and it presents a unique opportunity to study this important and fragile ecosystem.  Existing museum specimens archived at other museums were used to provide a historical perspective of the mammal fauna, which has suggested that several species may have recently become extinct in the park.  Specimens resulting from this research are being prepared in the Wildlife Museum, including the first record of a gray fox from an island in the Gulf of Mexico.

Morphometrics of the Gray-footed chipmunk:  Graduate student Alfredo Montoya is investigating morphologic variation within the gray-footed chipmunk (Tamias canipes).  This species only occurs in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico and extreme west Texas.  Because of the isolated nature of these mountain ranges, the species has had opportunity to differentiate on each isolated mountaintop.  By measuring skulls and examining pelage color patterns, Alfredo will be able assess subspecies designations within the species, which will assist land managers in defining management units.  Museum specimens included in the study are from collections at NMSU, as well as from loans of specimens from museums at other universities and institutions.

Contact information for Dr. Jennifer K. FreyEmail: jfrey@nmsu.edu