Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Surrogacy is a common tool within conservation and can be useful when scientists lack detailed knowledge of a system. Higher taxonomic surrogacy is appealing because it can save time and money. However, this technique might vary in effectiveness depending on the taxonomic level, spatial grain, region, and impact by humans. In this thesis I addressed some of the common concerns with higher taxonomic surrogacy using Breeding Bird Atlas data from six states (Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington). I compared the coefficients (slopes) of my models rather than the R2 values relied on by other higher taxonomic surrogacy studies. My results suggest taxonomic level, spatial grain, and region can affect higher taxonomic surrogacy. I did not detect a clear pattern between higher taxonomic surrogacy and human influence. I conclude that higher taxonomic surrogacy is a potentially useful tool for assessing biodiversity in an area, but care should be exercised when using this surrogacy technique to predict biodiversity.


Dr. Rob Channell

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type



© 2014 Frances Owen


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