Theses and Dissertations


Leah LK Moran

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rush, Scott A.

Committee Member

Dorr, Brian S.

Committee Member

Street, Garrett M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Double-crested Cormorants are expanding their breeding range to historic wintering and migratory regions, such as Guntersville Reservoir in Alabama. This study lends insight into how cormorants breeding in a temperate ecosystem impact plants, trees, soil and bird communities as well as home range and movement of cormorants during the breeding season and whether they reside on this reservoir year-round. Results suggest that breeding cormorants have a negative impact on this ecosystem and do not move far from colony sites. Stable isotopes from cormorants and prey fish suggest that cormorants are migrating from this system after breeding, potentially to a marine source. This study corroborates past studies of negative impacts of cormorant colonies, and provides novel results of how southeastern cormorants use and move on Guntersville Reservoir. This thesis can provide biologists information on how best to control populations and mitigate impacts on this and other similar southeastern systems.