Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1978

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Robert Nicholson

Abstract

Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns in western Kansas appeared to be distinct communities scattered among geographically diverse regions. During the summer months of 1975-1977, prairie dog towns in western Kansas were surveyed. The study period of 1975 was used for orientation and general observation. Twelve towns in 1976 were sampled according to the modified step-point method for determination of plant species composition. A total of 73 towns were surveyed in 1977, in which the total number of plant and bird species, area, and variables of isolation were measured. With a modified Bitterlich method, mound density and cover were also determined. Community structure of prairie dog towns was quantitatively examined by principal components analysis (PCA). It was found that towns were distinct communities but their differences were considered sufficient for testing the distributional aspects of the communities across Kansas. Fragmentation of large towns in the historical past probably led to isolation of smaller towns; analysis of the isolation was possible through PCA and stepwise multiple regression. Results from these tests showed that towns varied clinally according to the number of plant species and bird species observed. It was concluded that is location of these unique communities has increased recently and chances of new colonization are diminishing. It was suggested that understanding the community structure may lead to more intelligent and satisfactory management of prairie dog towns in western Kansas.

Rights

Copyright 1978 Patricia J. Latas

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

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