Date of Completion


Embargo Period



biodiversity, avian, management, conservation, ecology, evolution, landscape structure, metacommunity, phylogenetic diversity, functional diversity

Major Advisor

Michael R. Willig

Associate Advisor

Dan Civco

Associate Advisor

Chris Elphick

Associate Advisor

John Silander Jr.

Associate Advisor

Mark Urban

Field of Study

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Anthropogenic modification of landscapes continues to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. As human populations grow and demands for natural resources and land increase, landscapes will experience intensified alteration and fragmentation, with potentially dramatic consequences for biodiversity. Consequently, development of appropriate conservation policies requires effective monitoring programs as well as an understanding of how communities are affected by human-modified landscapes. To address this, I explored how multiple dimensions of temperate forest bird biodiversity (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic) respond to human-modified landscapes by investigating the relative importance of habitat area, habitat configuration, and matrix heterogeneity. I evaluated relationships between biodiversity and landscape pattern at multiple spatial scales and considered relationships at the community and metacommunity levels of organization. Additionally, I used patterns of phylogenetic relatedness and functional similarity among co-existing species to explore mechanisms underlying the assembly of ecological communities. This approach is used to investigate relative importance of deterministic factors (e.g., environmental conditions and interspecific interactions) versus stochastic processes (e.g., importance of chance colonization, random extinction, and ecological drift) for determining local species composition. Lastly, I evaluated the efficacy of Autonomous Recording Units as an alternative to traditional point counts conducted by human observers as they are a potential cost-effective data collection technique that could increase the spatial and temporal range of observations while expanding the number and diversity of studied organisms.