The Spatial Ecology of Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos): Habitat Selection, Home Range Size, and the Effect of Roads on Movement Patterns

The Spatial Ecology of Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos): Habitat Selection, Home Range Size, and the Effect of Roads on Movement Patterns

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Title: The Spatial Ecology of Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos): Habitat Selection, Home Range Size, and the Effect of Roads on Movement Patterns
Author: Robson, Laura E
Abstract: Habitat loss is the greatest contributor to the decline of species globally and thus understanding habitat use and the consequences fragmentation has on biodiversity is a fundamental step towards management and recovery. I conducted a radio-telemetry study to examine the spatial ecology and the effects of roads on Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos), a species at risk, in the Long Point Region of Ontario, Canada. I tested habitat selection at multiple spatial scales and I found that within the home range, snakes avoided agricultural land and selected open sand barrens, particularly for nesting. At the local scale, snakes avoided mature overstory trees and used younger patches of forest. Used locations had more woody debris, logs and low-vegetative coverage than locations selected at random. Eastern Hognose Snakes also showed avoidance of paved road crossings in their seasonal movements, but readily crossed unpaved roads. Management efforts for this species at risk should be placed on the conservation of sand barrens and on the construction of road underpasses to prevent genetic isolation of populations.
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20452
Supervisor: Blouin-Demers, Gabriel
Faculty: Sciences / Science
Degree: MSc

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