Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Biology, PhD

Committee Chair

Alexander, James

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Carreiro, Margaret

Committee Member

Carreiro, Margaret

Committee Member

Cobbs, Gary

Committee Member

Eason, Perri

Committee Member

Walters, Lindsey

Author's Keywords

diversity; evenness; Amur bush honeysuckle; invasive species


Invasive species pose a threat to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems by decreasing biodiversity (Didham et al. 2005). Amur bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) has typically reduced native plant diversity and altered animal communities by influencing animal abundance and activity (Collier and Vankat 2002). This study was intended to determine whether honeysuckle density or other characteristics of forested stands influence avian diversity, whether impacts are seasonally dependent, and whether correlations exist between attributes of forested stands and honeysuckle density. In order to test the hypotheses, thirteen forest stands within the Louisville Metropolitan Area were selected. They had similar tree composition but varied in density of honeysuckle [six forest stands with Lonicera maackii present and seven stands with little to no honeysuckle]. Vegetation surveys and an assessment of anthropogenic impact were conducted at all stands. Bird surveys were performed at each stand once every season for two years. Results of the study demonstrate that the two major determinants of avian diversity in forest stands of the southeast US (Louisville metropolitan area) were honeysuckle density and magnitude of anthropogenic influence; both effects impacted bird diversity negatively and effects did not vary significantly between seasons. Mean tree height was the only forest stand characteristic that had a significantly negative relationship with honeysuckle density. My study reveals how a pervasive shrub can reduce bird diversity through the seasonal dominance of some species preferring habitats of dense honeysuckle [cardinals, sparrows, and thrushes] and a slight decrease in abundance of some canopy species [titmice, nuthatches, and Eastern wood-pewees].