Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife in urban settings are a management challenge because wildlife populations and their habitats are often fragmented and degraded, but natural resource managers need information concerning their spatial distribution, spatial turnover, and spatial co-occurrence while accounting for imperfect detection. Based in the Chicago Metropolitan Area during 2009-2012, my study modeled 23 species across 5 wildlife taxa concerning patterns of site occupancy, spatial turnover (i.e., colonization and extinction), and/or spatial co-occurrence at 1-2 spatial scales. In detail, I investigated: (1) detection probabilities, site occupancy, and spatial turnover as affected by habitat and anthropogenic influences at 2 spatial scales for 6 species of songbirds: field sparrows (Spizella pusilla), great crested flycatchers (Myiarchus crinitus), willow flycatchers (Empidonax traillii), bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris), and rose-breasted grosbeaks (Pheucticus ludovicianus); (2) detection probabilities, site occupancy, and spatial turnover as affected by habitat and anthropogenic influences at 2 spatial scales for 3 species of reptiles and 4 species of amphibians: common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), blue-spotted salamanders (Ambystoma laterale), tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum), green frogs (Rana clamitans), and northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens); (3) habitat use and landscape site occupancy and spatial turnover as affected by habitat and anthropogenic influences for 4 species of mesocarnivores: coyotes (Canis latrans), raccoons (Procyon lotor), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), and Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana); and (4) detection probabilities and spatial distributions as affected by local habitat, an interacting species (dominant or subordinate), or both for 6 species of small mammals: short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda), meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), masked shrews (Sorex cinereus), and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus). I elucidate how managers can improve or design their survey techniques that will aid their inference of the distribution of wildlife in the Midwest. This work also provides suburban natural resource managers in the Chicago Metropolitan Area with information concerning land management and land acquisition guidelines to best conserve, attract, or deter the aforementioned wildlife on their properties.
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