Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The Mitchell's satyr butterfly (Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii) is one of the rarest butterflies in the world, they require prairie fen habitat specific to Michigan's southern Lower Peninsula. This thesis project is designed to bring a geographic perspective to an ongoing investigation into the potential distribution of critically rare or endangered species. This process is necessary to assess species conservation status and guide recovery plans. Using GIS tools to study areas that have been Mitchell's satyr habitat in the past but no longer have active populations, as well as currently populated sites, and sites that have the appropriate vegetation composition to sustain a population aid the understanding of which sites have the most potential for reintroduction of the butterfly. This analysis determines whether proper management of a site can create or restore Mitchell's satyr habitat. ArcGIS is used to record and quantify presence/absence data, geophysical survey data, GPS data, and topographical data about the site.

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