Term of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Dr. Lance D. McBrayer

Committee Member 1

Dr. Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

Dr. Checo Colon-Gaud


Population-level response to habitat fragmentation is central to applied species management and conservation. Managed landscapes are often subject to increased fragmentation and, consequently, may force once connected populations to function as metapopulations. Studies investigating metapopulations occurring over patchy, managed landscapes are of increasing importance as fragmentation is a known cause of biodiversity loss. In June-September 2012, populations of the rare, endemic Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi) were sampled across the Ocala National Forest (ONF) to compare abundance and density across two management types. In the ONF, sand-pine scrub is clearcut and rollerchopped whereas longleaf pine is managed via prescribed burning (2 year cycle). Lizard abundance and density was also compared between the interiors of stands to the associated natural surface roads. Ten stands of scrub (2-3 years post disturbance) and ten stands of longleaf pine (1 year post-disturbance) were sampled. To compare microhabitat conditions, vegetation and substrate data were also gathered. Lizards were more abundant in longleaf pine than scrub. Stands of scrub showed a noticeable absence of lizards. Higher encounter rates suggest that lizards are utilizing natural surface roads. Scrub and longleaf differed in several microhabitat conditions which may drive differences in abundance and density. However, variables such as patch size and isolation may play a larger role in the overall persistence of the Florida scrub lizard metapopulation.