March 14, 2020

New publication

New publication

Compensatory Microhabitat Selection by Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) in a Cool and Wet Macroclimate - L.J. Hecker, W.T. Bean & S.B. Marks, Journal of Herpetology.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) are the most northern reaching rattlesnakes in North America, being found in southern British Columbia, Canada. The use the deep crevices in rocky outcrops, known as dens or hibernaculua, to escape the cold temperatures of northern habitats. I sought to understand what climatic conditions make for suitable rattlesnake habitat and what conditions encourage formation of hibernacula. I found that in northern California, the coastal regions provide marginal climatic conditions. However, the north-coast of California has a bedrock layer that is suscepptile to creating brittle rocky outrcrops. Further, the region is a hotspot for landslide triggers, such as heay rainfall and earthquakes. The landslides expose the bedrock, which then fractures and falls creating a talus apron on the rocky outcrop providing rattlesnakes with ample opportunity espace harsh conditions like cold waether and rain. I conclude that the abundance of these outcrops has allowed Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes to persist on California's north coast.

I conducted this research as part of my Master's of Science in biology program at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Under the supervision of Dr. Sharyn Marks and committee members Dr. Tim Bean, Dr. Mark Hemphill-Haley, and the late Dr. Lowell Diller I completed my course and thesis work in May of 2016. It took four years to make this publication happen. It went through two rounds of major revisions and one round of minor revisions. After acceptance it was put "someplace it shouldn't be" for six months before finally being published in March of 2020.

Suggested citation: Hecker, L. J., Bean, W. T., & Marks, S. B. (2020). Compensatory  Microhabitat Selection by Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus  oreganus oreganus) in a Cool and Wet Macroclimate. Journal of Herpetology, 54(1), 39-49.

Maple Creek, California