Jennifer Rebecca Vaughan

Thesis title: "Local geographies of the coastal cactus wren and the coastal California gnatcatcher on marine corps base camp Pendleton California"


The coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) is a federally-listed threatened species and the coastal cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus couesi) is a California Species of Special Concern. Both species are target species under California’s Natural Communities Conservation Program (NCCP). Habitat loss is the driving force for population decline of both species. This study examines these target species on part of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California approximately 41, 118 hectares in area. The purpose of this research is to delineate a local geography for each species and to demonstrate a geographic approach to avian conservation. This study defines the local geography as a combination of the landscape characteristics, specific habitat requirements and the identification of core habitat areas for both species. Landscape characteristics refer to the composition and spatial configuration of the vegetation on the Base. Habitat requirements were obtained through habitat suitability analysis and species distribution modeling. Lastly, core habitat areas were identified via Kernel Density Estimation and prioritized by a set of detailed criteria based on requirements for both species on the Base. This study provides information regarding habitat requirements of both species and overall landscape characteristics on the Base, which will aid in conservation and management for the focal species. On a broad scale this research supports the regional conservation effort in southern California for the coastal cactus wren and the coastal California gnatcatcher.