Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Gerardo Arceo-Gómez

Committee Members

Thomas C. Jones, Richard Carter


Urbanization is an intensive form of habitat disturbance associated with detrimental effects on biodiversity. However, few studies have investigated its effects on the number, identity and structure of species interactions while considering seasonal fluctuations in communities. Avian seed dispersal is a vital ecosystem service, and the interplay of urbanization and seasonality may impact seed dispersal in ways not predicted by either factor alone. In this study, we evaluate the effects of urbanization and season on avian seed dispersal networks in the southern Appalachians. We found that the number and richness of interactions was unaffected, but the identity of interacting bird species differed based on landscape type. We also found that species strength was impacted by urbanization and season, but other network metrics were unaffected. These results suggest that species identity should be considered when making comparisons of seed dispersal networks, as it may reveal differences between networks with implications for dispersal quality and future plant communities.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

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