Hirsch, Ben T.

Profile Picture
Email Address
Birth Date
Job Title
Last Name
First Name
Ben T.
Creator of
Editor of
Reviewer of
Copyright Holder of
Data Contributor of
Funder of
Translator of
Other Contributor of

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Data package
    Data from: Stink or swim: techniques to meet the challenges for the study and conservation of small critters that hide, swim or climb and may otherwise make themselves unpleasant.
    (2015-05-25) Kays, Roland; Hirsch, Ben T.
    The study of musteloids requires different perspectives and techniques than those needed for most mammals. Musteloids are generally small yet travel long distances and many live or forage underground or under water, limiting the use of telemetry and direct observation. Some are arboreal and nocturnal, facilitating telemetry but limiting observation, trapping, and many non-invasive techniques. Large sexual size dimorphism arguably doubles sample sizes for many research questions. Many musteloids defend themselves by expelling noxious chemicals. This obscure group does not attract funding, even when endangered, further reducing rate of knowledge gain. Nonetheless, passive and active radio frequency identification tags, magnetic-inductance tracking, accelerometers, mini-biologgers and some GPS tags are tiny enough for use with small musteloids. Environmental DNA can document presence of animals rarely seen. These technologies, coupled with creative research design that is well-grounded on the scientific method, form a multi-dimensional approach for advancing our understanding of these charismatic minifauna.
  • Data package
    Data from: Thieving rodents as substitute dispersers of megafaunal seeds
    (2012-06-27) Jansen, Patrick A.; Hirsch, Ben T.; Emsens, Willem-Jan; Zamora-Gutierrez, Veronica; Wikelski, Martin; Kays, Roland
    The Neotropics have many plant species that seem to be adapted for seed dispersal by megafauna that went extinct in the late Pleistocene. Given the crucial importance of seed dispersal for plant persistence, it remains a mystery how these plants have survived more than 10,000 y without their mutualist dispersers. Here we present support for the hypothesis that secondary seed dispersal by scatter-hoarding rodents has facilitated the persistence of these large-seeded species. We used miniature radio transmitters to track the dispersal of reputedly megafaunal seeds by Central American agoutis, which scatter-hoard seeds in shallow caches in the soil throughout the forest. We found that seeds were initially cached at mostly short distances and then quickly dug up again. However, rather than eating the recovered seeds, agoutis continued to move and recache the seeds, up to 36 times. Agoutis dispersed an estimated 35% of seeds for >100 m. An estimated 14% of the cached seeds survived to the next year, when a new fruit crop became available to the rodents. Serial video-monitoring of cached seeds revealed that the stepwise dispersal was caused by agoutis repeatedly stealing and recaching each other’s buried seeds. Although previous studies suggest that rodents are poor dispersers, we demonstrate that communities of rodents can in fact provide highly effective long-distance seed dispersal. Our findings suggest that thieving scatter-hoarding rodents could substitute for extinct megafaunal seed dispersers of tropical large-seeded trees.