Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Understanding the role of an organism in an ecosystem involves understanding different aspects of their ecology, which is particularly true for species that are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The losses of amphibians and reptiles can be detrimental because often these organisms are good environmental indicators and their status might provide insight into the stability of specific ecosystems (Vitt et al., 1990). Kansas has a variety of habitats that support reptile and amphibian populations; however we have limited understanding of the role of species believed to be common such as the Western Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus). The Western Massasauga occurs in the central two thirds of the state in a variety of habitats. Currently there is no protection for the Western Massasauga in Kansas. I surveyed two distinct macrohabitats in central Kansas, a wetland (Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and The Nature Conservancy at Cheyenne Bottoms) and a grassland (Co. EW, T-17-S, R-8-W, Section 3), for Western Massasaugas in 2006 and 2007. I collected data on population size and structure, and diet information using both stomach contents and stable isotope analyses of muscle and rattle tissues. I also collected potential available prey items for use in the stable isotope analyses. . . .


William Stark

Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2009 David Bender


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