Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Douglas A. James

Committee Member

Daniel D. Magoulick

Second Committee Member

Kimberly G. Smith

Keywords

Biological sciences; Arkansas; Avian; Egyptian; Goose; Invasive; Non-native

Abstract

The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is an exotic member of the Anatidae that has been residing in northwestern Arkansas since the 1980s (Smith and James 2012). Following the discovery of Egyptian Geese in the area, not much attention has been given to the consequences of population increase. The Egyptian Goose has shown many diverse population growth patterns in areas where it has been introduced and started feral populations. The purpose of this study was to assess the current population size of the Egyptian Goose in northwestern Arkansas,and confirm successful breeding. The methods used in this study included conducting road surveys of suitable habitats for the Egyptian Goose, and recording number of adults, chicks, and other avian species interacting with the geese. Yearly densities, as well as monthly densities were compared between two years of data collection to determine population growth. The results showed a reasonably constant population size with relatively low breeding success. More study needs to be conducted on the breeding success of the Egyptian Goose, with radio tagging during the non-breeding season so that pairs can be more easily found during the breeding season. Along with looking at Egyptian Geese in northwestern Arkansas, data from the United States of America was analyzed to see if areas with Egyptian Geese are increasing in population size. The final recommendation of this study proposes that northwestern Arkansas is a dispersal point for the Egyptian Goose for more suitable habitats in surrounding areas, and should be eradicated from the area before the species follows other non-native species and becomes invasive.

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