Master of Science (M.Sc.)
As sea levels rise, coastal salt marshes, and the organisms for which they provision, face existential threats. A first step in understanding how projected marsh loss and reconfiguration may impact obligate species is to define their contemporary distribution and temporal shifts in structure using dynamic occupancy models. While occupancy models have commonly been applied to multi-annual butterfly studies, few have investigated population dynamics within a single-season. Here, we used Bayesian dynamic use models to define within-flight-period trends in adult salt-marsh skipper (Panoquina panoquin) use and state change probability. In doing so, we developed and validated a fully-Bayesian test for closure, and documented the ecology, behavior and detectability of this previously unstudied marsh-specialist butterfly. We found evidence that transects in our study system were open to changes in state across the field season, and, consequently, that transect use probability varied considerably by month from 0.35 to 0.84. Latent salt-marsh skipper phenology and transect quality were better predictors of within-flight-period dynamics than marsh area or isolation. This research highlights how variable population dynamics can be within a period of time commonly assumed to be static.
© The Author
Mason, Sam, "Within-Flight-Period Dynamics Driven By Phenology And Transect Quality, Not Patch Size Or Isolation, In A Specialist Butterfly, Panoquina Panoquin" (2020). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1593091614.