This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Analysis of Climate Information to Support US Fish and Wildlife Service Species Status Assessments: An Eye-Tracking Study




Cashwell, Haven

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Species Status Assessments (SSAs) are required for endangered species by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). These documents need to include climate information since climate will be negatively impacting species in the future. To aid in including climate information a Decision Support System (DSS) entitled Climate Analysis and Visualization for the Assessment of Species Status (CAnVAS) was developed. The goal of the current study is to fill the gap in assessing co-production and evaluating SSAs. This research analyzes the differences in usability between two versions of a DSS aimed at benefitting the USFWS through eye-tracking and subsequent interviews with novice users. It was found that graphically displaying temporal climate information through box and whisker plots and spatially through a sequential color ramp from white to purple was more effective at communicating climate information on endangered species.