Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Bruce A. Schulte

Committee Member 1

Lance D. McBrayer

Committee Member 2

David C. Rostal

Abstract

Herpetofauna diversity and richness were compared in areas that varied in the degree of elephant impact on the woody vegetation (Acacia spp.). The study was conducted at Ndarakwai Ranch in northeastern Tanzania. Elephants moving between three National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania visit this property. From August 2007 to March 2008, we erected drift fences and pitfall traps to sample herpetofaunal community and examined species richness and diversity within the damaged areas and in an exclusion plot. I captured 143 individuals comprising 13 species of reptiles in the order Sauria and nine species of anurans. Areas of heavy damage yielded higher species richness than the exclusion plot. Species diversity did not differ between damaged areas and the exclusion plot. Frogs were more abundant in areas of high damage; in contrast, toads were found in lower abundance in the high damaged areas then the exclusion plot. The results support the idea that elephants have a positive influence on herpetofaunal species by creating habitat complexity by modifying the woodland area. In addition to this study, bioassays were conducted on three chemical compounds (cyclohexanone, 2

Share

COinS