Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Morin, Dana J.

Committee Member

Hileman, Eric

Committee Member

King, Richard B.

Committee Member

Boudreau, Melanie

Committee Member

Iglay, Raymond

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Campus Access Only 1 Year

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Over the 21st century, climate change and wetland habitat loss will pose major threats to the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus), a federally threatened and Great Lakes region endemic rattlesnake. I collected capture-recapture data from sites across the range and modeled the effect of climatic variables on growth rate and asymptotic size. I found that high snow residence time was associated with larger asymptotic sizes but slower growth, while high spring precipitation increased growth rate. I then projected future growth and size under different carbon emission scenarios. Given the threat posed by successional encroachment of woody vegetation, I used spatially explicit capture-recapture models to examine the effects of landscape characteristics and phenology on the spatial distribution of density for a population in Michigan. I found highest density in areas close to a stream and with low vegetation intensity, which can inform prescribed burn programs and give additional insights into life history.