The effects of biogeographic factors on the persistence and distribution of the common five-lined skink in Southern Ontario
Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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The management of biogeographic factors associated with species at risk populations is an excellent conservation tool if the effects of such factors are thoroughly understood. Biogeographic factors, or habitats, such as prairie/savannah remnants and sandy shorelines, and their effects on the distribution of the Common Five-lined Skink populations in Ontario, were analyzed. Results indicate strong effects of varying degrees from both biogeographic factors on the two skink populations, the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence and the Carolinian population, indicating that these habitats influence the distribution of this lizard species. The effects of said biogeographic elements changed between each population, implying that variations in latitude lead to changes in critical habitat. Within each population extant and extirpated/historical locations showed no significant variation in proximity to sandy shoreline and prairie/savannah habitat. This indicated that extant populations have not survived due to closer proximity to essential habitat, and the isolation of local populations has remained consistent, leading to longterm extinction rates which prevent recolonization (non-equilibrium metapopulations). Considering these biogeographic elements as critical requirements allows for more effective habitat management tactics for the Common Five-lined Skink to prevent future population losses. Ultimately, biogeographic components associated with species at risk can be a useful addition to habitat management used in the conservation of any species.