Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Joseph E. Duchamp, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeffery L. Larkin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Josiah H. Townsend, Ph.D.

Abstract

The Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) has experienced significant population declines throughout Pennsylvania due to multiple factors, including declines in food resources, and habitat degradation and fragmentation. I analyzed landscape scale influences on the distribution of Allegheny woodrats in Pennsylvania based on current occupied sites and unoccupied historic sites. Occupied sites were described by documented presences during a recent state-wide survey for Allegheny woodrats. I used this presence data, associated landscape-level GIS data, and a maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to examine patterns of occupied and unoccupied woodrat site distribution. Comparison of the two models brings to light that habitat destruction throughout their historic range appear to be an important contributor to the reduction in the species current distribution. Future woodrat management should be aware of the impact permanent land changes to woodrat habitat sites.

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