Contact: David Bowne, Elizabethtown College, email@example.com
Researchers find skewed age and sex ratios in freshwater turtle species and these findings are often attributed to anthropogenic changes in the landscape. A high concentration of roads near turtle nesting sites may, for example, selectively increase mortality of adult females, leading to a male-skewed population. Increased predation of nests caused by a high density of predators that flourish in human-dominated landscapes (e.g. raccoons, opposums) may reduce juvenile recruitment and cause an adult-skewed population. As of now, each of these statements has not been rigorously tested due in part to the spatial restrictions of the few studies that have been conducted. In the TurtlePop project, members of EREN will conduct turtle sampling in lentic habitats on or near campus in order to determine the population structure of turtles across an urbanization gradient.
We will test the following primary hypotheses:
- The secondary sex ratio of turtles will be more male-biased as urbanization increases. Urbanization will be measured by road density, human population density, and habitat types within an area scaled to the movement range of the turtle species.
- The population age distribution will be more biased towards adults as urbanization increases.
The turtle species that we study in this project may serve as model species for the conservation of other freshwater turtles. Worldwide, roughly 45% of freshwater turtle taxa are listed as threatened in the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. By better understanding how common freshwater turtles respond to changes along an urbanization gradient, one can devise improved conservation strategies for the many imperiled freshwater turtle species.
Project Timeline [coming soon]
Images [coming soon]
For more information contact:
David Bowne– Elizabethtown College