Committee Chair

Keller, Robert

Committee Member

Gaudin, Timothy; Tucker, John; Litchford, Gary


Dept. of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Vanderbilt, Forrest B. Examination of Small Mammal Diversity in the Riparian Areas of Walden, Tennessee Thesis under the direction of Robert D. Keller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology It has been hypothesized that riparian zones are prime conservation habitats and can be used as indicators of general ecosystem health (Montgomery 1996). Riparian zones, comprising a range of habitat types, typically exhibit higher biotic diversity when compared to adjacent upland hardwood forests (Batzli 1977, Cross 1985a, Cross 1985b, Doyle 1985, Knopf et al. 1988, Doyle 1990, Naiman and Decamps 1997, Ellison and van Riper III 1998, Olson and Knopf 1998). Therefore small mammal diversity and abundance should be greater in riparian areas when compared to contiguous upland hardwood forests. The intent of this study is to compare small mammal communities living within the two habitat types. Abundance trends were observed for two species: the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Mammalian diversity of each habitat type was calculated using ShannonWiener indices. Demographic comparisons were made using the most prevalent species P. leucopus. Demographic comparisons of P. leucopus were not found to be significantly different between habitat types and survey sites. Overall species abundance and species diversity were found to be greater in the riparian area. The riparian area with a well-defined edge exhibited greatest abundance and diversity of species. This study suggests that the type of edge that defines a riparian boundary influences species abundance and species diversity.


I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to all those individuals who assisted in this study. Foremost, I wish to thank my advisor Dr. Robert Keller for his direction and development of my research project. I would also like to give a special thanks to my committee members, Dr. Timothy Gaudin and Mr. John Tucker LL.M. for their keen advise and manuscript revisions. I am grateful to Dr. Charles Nelson, Dr. Gary Litchford, and the entire faculty and office support staff of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences who have provided encouragement and guidance. My field research could not have been accomplished without the help of those assistants who braved downpours, floods, and slick slopes. I am also appreciative of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Writing Center staff. Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to my family and friends who motivated me with patience and support throughout this project.


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.




Mammals--Tennessee--Hamilton County; Riparian areas; Mammal communities--Tennessee


Natural Resources and Conservation

Document Type

Masters theses




vii, 42 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .V362 2002