Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen M. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Chansheng He

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Little scientific research has been published that addresses the habitat requirement of the Lake Huron tansy, a Michigan threatened species. Adequate protection of the tansy, location of new populations, and identification of potential restoration sites all depend on defining suitable habitat. Mahalanobis distance and partitioned Mahalanobis distance were combined with geographic information systems (GIS) to spatially model habitat suitability for Lake Huron tansy in Michigan. Several models were created for shoreline areas within the 14 counties in northern Michigan where the tansy is found. Results suggested elevation, distance to shore, slope, direction to shore and aspect were important variables for describing suitable tansy habitat. Percent sand, percent gravel, growing season temperature, and winter temperature were also important in model variations. Results indicated that Mahalanobis distance produced more useful results than partitioned Mahalanobis distance and that the models built from fewer variables often yielded more specific habitat suitability maps than the models based on more variables. The results also indicated that modeling habitat for a shoreline/dune specialist species presents challenges to traditional GIS methods.

Included in

Geography Commons