Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Steven N. Francoeur, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Kristin E. Judd, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Katherine R. Greenwald, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Hugh M. Semple, Ph.D.


To examine the relationship of environmental conditions and their effect on Whooping crane (Grus americana) nest site selection; wetland soils, plant community structure and surface water quality were analyzed throughout nineteen established nest sites and twenty non-nesting wetland sites. Due to past fire management throughout the refuge, the effects of fire history were also investigated by comparing burned (n=17) and un-burned (n=22) areas.

A multi-dimensional scaling analysis did not detect significant differences in plant community structure between nest and non-nesting sites, but did find a significant difference with respect to time since last burn. Soil parameters were not significant during the course of the study. Soluble reactive phosphorus, and pH of surface water were statistically different between nest and non-nest sites, but only during one year of the study.

Whooping crane nest site selection was apparently not determined by the plant community, surface water quality, or soil composition.

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