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Inundation effects on the ecology of the northern Mexican Gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops)

Myrand, Jason Michael (2019) Inundation effects on the ecology of the northern Mexican Gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops). Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Understanding spatial ecology and habitat use of threatened and endangered species is imperative to effective conservation planning and species recovery. I used radio-telemetry to examine the spatial ecology and habitat selection of Northern Mexican Gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques megalops) in relation to water level fluctuations at lower Tonto Creek, Arizona, over three years, 2015–2017. Many aquatic habitats are subjected to flooding, either regularly through seasonal floods, or irregularly by periodic floods, but how animals respond to flooding has been rarely studied. I tracked 31 adult T. e. megalops to determine habitat use and movements under different water levels during their active season in 2016 and 2017. I found little evidence that microhabitat use changed during inundation; rather, macrohabitat selection, as measured by size of their activity range, increased to encompass areas with microhabitat features selected during non-inundation. I also found that T. e. megalops activity range sizes were larger at lower Tonto Creek than previous studies, and my results suggest that increasing water levels that covers more area can positively correlate with activity range size. This is the first study addressing how fluctuating water levels affect the habitat selection and spatial ecology of T. e. megalops, and helps to guide the species habitat requirements in inundation-prone streams.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Activity range; Habitat selection; Inundation; Radio-telemetry; Thamnophis eques megalops; Mexican gartersnake
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2022 23:24
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2022 23:24
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5597

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