Habitat assessment for a threatened keystone marsupial in Patagonia

Mariano Rodriguez-Cabal

The northern portion of the temperate forest of South America harbors a unique triangle of keystone species comprised of a hummingbird (Sephanoides sephaniodes), a mistletoe (Tristerix corymbosus), and the marsupial, monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides). Habitat needs of this key marsupial have not been studied, though population declines have been documented in disturbed landscapes. The reasons for these population declines are unknown. The general goal of this project is to identify the habitat variables that determine the distribution and abundance of the monito del monte so that impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on this species can be predicted and prevented.