Population dynamics of cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) inhabiting abandoned petroleum landfarms in Oklahoma, USA

James A. Wilson, Robert L. Lochmiller, David M. Janz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous work by our group has shown bioaccumulation of contaminants and alterations in the immune system of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) inhabiting petrochemical waste sites (landfarms). We studied populations of cotton rats inhabiting petrochemical landfarms or uncontaminated reference sites. Cotton rat populations inhabiting abandoned landfarms experienced reduced summer population densities and lower mean monthly survival, with maximum densities 65% that of populations inhabiting non-contaminated grassland (reference) sites. Survival was lower in populations from landfarms (0.62 ± 0.04) compared to reference sites (0.75 ± 0.04), with differences most notable during summer months. Cotton rat populations sampled from landfarms had even sex ratios and a lower proportion of juveniles compared to populations from reference sites. No differences were observed in the weight of epididymides, testes, uteri, or ovaries, and no differences in fecundity were detected among sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006



  • Landfarm
  • Petroleum
  • Population dynamics
  • Program MARK
  • Sigmodon hispidus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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