Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Howard, Jerome

Second Advisor

Lodhi, Mathab

Third Advisor

Johnson, Steve


In this study, I modeled the suitability of habitat on the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge for the federally endangered Mississippi Sandhill Crane (Grus Canadensis pulla). Habitat type and suitability changed over time due to seasonality of vegetation and succession in the absence of burning. Cranes used highly suitable habitat more in the non-growing than in the growing season, and may have been more constrained by resource availability during winter months. Cranes used some less-suitable areas including cypress drains, which provide roosting sites, and supplemental food plots. The mismatch between predicted quality and crane use suggests that no single habitat provides all resources required for the population to persist. Prescribed burning to maintain grassland habitat is essential for maintaining high quality habitat for cranes. The relative availability of food on supplemental food plots and grasslands, as well as the behavior of cranes toward roads, require additional investigation.


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