Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wind energy is among the most rapidly growing energy industries in the United States, with support for development coming from both state and federal governments. While the industry depicts an environmentally friendly image, the addition of infrastructure associated with wind farms alters landscapes in novel ways. Numerous studies have documented impacts wind turbines have on bird and bat mortality; however, far less attention has been directed towards responses of non-volant, terrestrial organisms. Mammalian mesocarnivores are model organisms to assess the alteration of communities surrounding wind turbines as they respond to addition of turbines and human activity, addition and improvement of roadways, and increases in turbine-induced carrion. In September 2011, I established a yearlong study surrounding the Central Plains Wind Facility in western Kansas to document patterns associated with the occupancy of terrestrial mammals within turbine and turbine-free habitats. I placed 34 scent-baited trail cameras among turbine and control habitats, with a randomly placed subset along roadways. Detection histories during 28-day survey periods and habitat covariates were analyzed with PRESENCE 5.5. Canis latrans and Vulpes velox were the most abundant mesocarnivores detected. Canis latrans had a higher probability of occupancy at the control area, while V. velox had higher probabilities of occupancy at the turbine area. Detection probabilities were impacted strongly by mean precipitation as well as between field and roadway locations for V. velox. Vulpes velox detection probabilities were conditional on C. latrans presence and detection, although the two species occupied sites independently.


Dr. Elmer J. Finck

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type



© 2013 Brian P. Tanis


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