Mississippi State University
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
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.
Davis, Annie Moriah, "Landscape Ecology of Eastern Wild Turkeys in Mississippi" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 2918.