Date of this Version
Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2017
The purpose of this study was to identify ecological parameters which could serve as a basis to more accurately predict the population distribution of the species A. elegans. Population numbers of A. elegans in Nebraska are low, and limited a range distribution has been estimated throughout the state. Due to the elusive nature and limited numbers of this animal, accurately identifying its range in Nebraska is of concern to biologists. Analysis of multiple ecological variables throughout selected counties of Nebraska were used in an attempt to account for current distribution and possible extensions of its known range. Ecological information was collected at the county level, charted and statistically analyzed in order to examine any correlations to snake habitation. Analysis provided few statistically significant correlations between A. elegans habitation and the variables studied at the county level, however, annual rainfall and soil pH had a significant correlation. These results do not necessarily suggest a causal relationship and further study is needed to determine if these variables are a suitable metric with which to determine habitation. Used in tandem with multiple variables, as well as more advanced modeling techniques such as GIS, these results may play a role in furthering our understanding of the population distribution of A. elegans in the state of Nebraska.