Wesley Burger


Evans, Kristine O.

Committee Member

Wang, Guiming

Committee Member

Skarke, Adam

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 6 months||forever||5/15/2021

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


The Gulf of Mexico dune system is a broad and dynamic environment that varies greatly in geomorphology and vegetative composition across the Gulf coastline. Beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus spp.) are an endangered species that rely on coastal habitat structure. I hypothesized that beach mouse occupancy would be dependent upon coastal dune land cover and landform features. I identified coastal landforms using high-resolution elevation data and landform models in GRASS GIS and identified coastal dune vegetation classes using high-resolution aerial imagery and object oriented vegetation classification. These features were used to create a dynamic occupancy model to determine occupancy patterns in three subspecies of beach mice over multiple years of sampling. Beach mice demonstrated no distinct pattern in habitat occupancy over the study period. However, dynamic occupancy models demonstrated that habitat occupancy varied between individual sites, indicating that habitat selection may be population specific.



Geosystems Research Institute High Performance Computing Collaboratory U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture