Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies


Coastal and Marine Systems Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Kevin S. Godwin

Second Advisor

John J. Hutchens, Jr.

Third Advisor

James O. Luken


The primary objective of my research was to examine the composition and structure of herpetofauna assemblages relative to fire, dominant wetland community, and local abiotic gradients at Sandy Island, South Carolina. Paired sampling sites were equally distributed between treatments (i.e., burned versus unburned) and wetland plant community types (i.e., forested versus scrub-shrub) within a Pinus palustris (longleaf pine) landscape. Sites were sampled for 1164 array nights, capturing 170 individuals representing 21 reptile and amphibian species. Unburned sites had significantly greater species richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity, and abundance than burned. Significantly greater species richness and abundance were recorded in forested wetlands than scrub-shrub, however, diversity was not significantly different. All comparisons were made at an a priori p-value of 0.10. Results of this study suggest prescribed fire management used to maintain critical habitat for Picoides borealis (red-cockaded woodpecker) on Sandy affects on the distribution of herpetofauna and warrants long-term investigation to facilitate adaptive management procedures.