Committee Chair

Aborn, David A.

Committee Member

Boyd, Jennifer N.; Klug, Hope M.

Department

Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Invasive species exist outside of their native ranges and can cause environmental harm where they have been introduced. One such species is kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), an invasive vine in the southeastern U.S. Although kudzu is one of the most common invasive species management concerns in the Southeast, there is little quantitative data documenting its effects on native species. This study examines the seasonal correlations between kudzu and avian species diversity and relative abundance in Hamilton County, Tennessee. By measuring the characteristics of the overstory, midstory, and understory vegetation at sites with differing levels of kudzu coverage, I examined correlations between kudzu density and avian demographics. Kudzu coverage had a significant negative impact on avian diversity and species richness, as well as on native vegetation. Kudzu’s alteration of vegetation structure, through the creation of a monoculture and subsequent reduction of structural diversity, was likely the cause of reduced avian diversity and richness due to a decrease in the availability of structurally oriented guilds.

Degree

M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.

Date

12-2013

Subject

Species diversity

Location

Hamilton County (Tenn.)

Keyword

Birds; Kudzu; Invasive species; Pueraria montana var. lobata; Vegetation structure; Avian communities

Discipline

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Masters theses

Extent

xii, 72 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

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