Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)

First Advisor

Jan Reber

Abstract

The Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) has seen significant and accelerating declines in its overall population numbers in the past 100 years. This is primarily the result of habitat loss and population fragmentation, which has isolated the extremely territorial Florida Scrub Jay into smaller sub-regional populations. In many ways this is a catalyst for social evolution and divergence of the species. An early indicator of divergent evolution can be witnessed in the development of distinct call dialects. By recording the female hiccup calls of the three largest distinct sub-regional populations (Atlantic Coast sub-region, Ocala sub-region and the Lake Wales Ridge sub-region), the divergence in dialects can be quantified. Using digital recording equipment and two popular sound analysis programs, 12 birds from each sub-region were compared for similarity. Principal Coordinate Analysis and ANOVA tests were then used to find the significance of the differentiation between the populations. The final analysis has revealed a significant difference between the female hiccup calls of the Lake Wales Ridge sub-region (Archbold Biological Station), the Ocala sub-region (Ocala National Forest) and the Atlantic Coast sub-region (Canaveral National Seashore/Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge).

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