Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. William Stark


Only about 11% of native grasslands remain in the United States (North America Bird Conservation Initiative, 2011). Grasslands are a considerable source of biodiversity and play a crucial role in nutrient cycling (Suttie et al. 2005; Holechek et al. 2011). Stewards, such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, are essential to grassland conservation, especially in Kansas, where less than one percent of land is under federal stewardship or public trust (Holechek et al. 2011). Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,900 hectare refuge located in Stafford County, has traditionally been managed as a stopover for migratory birds, but is now expanding management practices to include all flora and fauna. To better understand grassland bird and herpetofaunal populations on the refuge, repeatable monitoring protocols for Quivira National Wildlife Refuge were developed to provide baseline data. In this study, single-season occupancy models were generated for target species to test if presence was influenced by habitat type. Herpetofauna and grassland birds were sampled concurrently from April 24 to July 4, 2015. For the sampling season, nine bird species and 1,748 individuals were observed. Seventeen species of herpetofauna and 212 individuals were observed. Occupancy models were constructed for organisms that had > 25 observations. Bird species with adequate sample sizes include Northern Bobwhite, Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, and Western Meadowlark. Herpetofaunal species with > 25 observations include: North American Racer, Plains Garter snake, and Ornate Box Turtle. The Northern Bobwhite, Dickcissel, Eastern Meadowlark, North iii American Racer, and Ornate Box Turtle models showed that the species had high rates of occupancy and detectability and were not modeled with covariates.


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© 2015 Kasandra A. Brown

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