Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Jennifer Rehage

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael Ross

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Joel Heinen

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Phillip Hughes

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Michael Gaines

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Key Largo woodrat, Neotoma floridana smalli, habitat, nest, distribution, occupancy, ecology, endangered species, conservation

Date of Defense

11-12-2014

Abstract

Key Largo woodrats are an endangered subspecies with an extremely limited habitat. This study sought to understand woodrat habitat preferences in order to guide management. Woodrats build stick nests from natural and artificial materials, so nest distribution and nest occupancy were used as indicators of preference. Distribution was determined by nest surveys, and remote cameras were used to assess occupancy. Forest structure, human disturbance, nest, and animal presence metrics were also collected. More nests were found along abandoned roads than along forest transects and more artificial nests were occupied than natural nests. These findings indicate that woodrats prefer areas with human disturbance, rather than forest age and structure as previously believed. This may have consequences on woodrat management, as it suggests that man-made materials are currently needed by woodrats even in a protected natural area.

Identifier

FI14110745

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