Date of Award

Summer 6-27-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Biological Science (MBioSci)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Alfred Mead

Second Advisor

Katie Stumpf

Third Advisor

Matthew Milnes

Abstract

Due to wildlife mortality along roadways, wildlife managers need an efficient and effective way of surveying and identifying roadkill hotspots—locations that have high wildlife mortality rates. The number of roadkill in hotspots is influenced by animal movements in response to seasonal temperature changes, daily activity, surrounding habitat, road topography and physical road features. Due to ease of implementation and time constraints, driving surveys are more common because walking surveys are more labor intensive and time consuming. From February 2018 to February 2019, two survey methods, driving and walking, were used to monitor a 1.16 km section of Highway 212 in Baldwin County, Georgia. Roadkills were identified and monitored from sunrise to noon every Tuesday and Thursday, weather permitting. Twenty-nine roadkills were recorded over the survey period: 48.3% mammals (14/29), 27.6% herpetofauna (8/29), and 24.1% birds (7/29). Forty-eight percent (14/29) of roadkills were missed by the vehicle survey: 43% of herpetofauna, 36% of mammals, and 21% of birds. Of the roadkills missed, 72.7% (8/14) were located in the roadway. Animals smaller than Eastern Gray Squirrel size were more likely missed than those larger than squirrels (x^2=4.36; p=0.04) in the driving survey. This study demonstrates that driving surveys likely miss a significant portion of roadkill smaller than squirrels and conducting walking surveys separately or in combination with driving surveys is necessary for an accurate estimate of roadkill numbers.

Available for download on Friday, June 26, 2020

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