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dc.contributor.advisorLopez, Roel R.en_US
dc.creatorPerry, Neil Desmonden_US
dc.date.accessioned2006-10-30T23:27:28Z
dc.date.available2006-10-30T23:27:28Z
dc.date.created2006-08en_US
dc.date.issued2006-10-30
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/4260
dc.description.abstractExtensive development has destroyed and fragmented wildlife habitat in the Lower Florida Keys. The Lower Keys marsh rabbit (LKMR; Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) and the silver rice rat (SRR; Oryzomys argentatus) are listed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) as endangered species. Both species depend on coastal prairies, freshwater marshes, and intertidal salt-marsh zones. The objective of this study was to meet specific, species-level recovery goals and to add reliable information that may modify or support current recovery plans. Specifically, I (1) evaluated the use of LKMR reintroduction to suitable habitat, (2) examined characteristics of habitat used by LKMR, and (3) surveyed the Lower Florida Keys for SRRs, documenting current range and examining survey results for the past decade. I reintroduced 7 rabbits (3 males, 4 females) to suitable habitat on Water Key, and monitored their survival and release-site fidelity. All reintroduced rabbits survived and some reproduced, suggesting these translocation techniques are a viable tool for recovery. On Boca Chica Key, I radio-collared 13 LKMRs and compared vegetation characteristics between core-use and avoided areas within home ranges. Binary logistic regression associated rabbit use with high vegetation heights (7–8 dm), low canopy coverage (<=10%), high bunchgrass densities (2.5–3.8/sq m), and forb presence (>5%), supporting the hypothesis that LKMRs may be detrimentally impacted by hardwood encroachment into salt-marsh habitats. For LKMR recovery, I recommend management to resist hardwood encroachment, together with active predator control. I surveyed 36 locations on 18 islands for SRRs, capturing rats on 12 islands, including 2 on which SRRs had not previously been found. Comparisons of my data with historic data suggest SRRs either have increased in abundance over the past decade or that previous trapping efforts were not effective. Abundance of SRRs does not appear to be significantly different from that of populations of rice rats on the mainland. The USFWS and FFWCC should consider revising the conservation status of the SRR; however, it still should be regarded as a unique evolutionary unit with a very limited potential range.en_US
dc.format.extent1272879 bytes
dc.format.mediumelectronicen_US
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherTexas A&M Universityen_US
dc.subjectSylvilagusen_US
dc.subjectOryzomysen_US
dc.subjectpalustrisen_US
dc.subjectreintroductionen_US
dc.subjectrecovery actionen_US
dc.titleThe Lower Keys marsh rabbit and silver rice rat: steps toward recoveryen_US
dc.typeBooken
dc.typeThesisen
thesis.degree.departmentWildlife and Fisheries Sciencesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineWildlife and Fisheries Sciencesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorTexas A&M Universityen_US
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen_US
thesis.degree.levelMastersen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberDavis, Donald S.en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberFrank, Philip A.en_US
dc.type.genreElectronic Thesisen_US
dc.type.materialtexten_US
dc.format.digitalOriginborn digitalen_US


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