Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Wang, Guiming

Committee Member

Butler, Adam

Committee Member

Rush, Scott

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


The effects of landscape structure on wildlife populations have drawn more attention from ecologists and wildlife managers as landscapes have rapidly changed worldwide. The objectives of this study were to (1) conduct a statewide habitat suitability assessment for wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in Mississippi using machine learning methods; (2) determine landscape-abundance relationships of wild turkeys at 2 spatial scales; and (3) measure genetic distinction of wild turkey populations in Mississippi. I found that habitat suitability for wild turkeys was positively related to amount of forest cover. Wild turkey relative abundance peaked at an optimal hardwood forest proportion of 0.29 and increased with enhanced landscape configuration at the annual dispersal scale, supporting the landscape composition hypothesis. Using microsatellite analysis of 224 birds, I found 3 distinct genetic clusters in Mississippi; however, population genetic differentiation neither fit to the isolation by distance or isolation by resistance models but may have behavioral cues.



Population genetic structure||Machine learning||Landscape-abundance relationship||Habitat suitability model||Habitat management