Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Shane Welch, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jayme Waldron

Third Advisor

Dr. Anne Axel


The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus; EDB) is a species of conservation concern associated with the imperiled longleaf pine-grassland ecosystem. The longleaf pine ecosystem is characterized by an open canopy and rich ground cover. Researchers have speculated that the vegetation structure of salt marshes may serve as a surrogate habitat for longleaf pine savannas. Although these marshes have little topography, they provide a heterogeneous landscape with patches of mud flats, sandy hard marsh along upper tidal areas, and salt marsh hummocks throughout. I used radio telemetry to monitor free-ranging EDBs on a South Carolina sea island. The goal of my analysis was to examine EDB habitat use within salt marsh habitats. My results indicate that EDBs use marsh edge and hummock habitat-patches when hunting in salt marshes. My study illustrates a potential interaction between EDB habitat use along coastal river ways and extreme tidal inundations that would result in a down-river dispersal pattern. Tidally-biased dispersal may misguide EDB conservation if high EDB densities along coastal islands mischaracterize critical habitat for the species.


Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Habitat (Ecology)