Proposal Title

Habitat Use and Home Range of Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) in North Georgia Piedmont

Primary Faculty Mentor’s Name

Natalie Hyslop

Session Format

Oral (max. 15 minutes)

Abstract

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a terrestrial species native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire to Georgia. Terrapene carolina is experiencing range-wide population decline and is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Despite the species' status, little research has been conducted regarding home range and habitat use in the Southeastern US. To contribute to the knowledge of the species in this region, we have conducted a radiotelemetry study since 2013 to investigate factors that influence T. carolina movement, survival, and habitat use in the Northeastern Piedmont region of Georgia. The study site is composed of mixed hardwood-pine uplands, primarily comprised of oaks and maples; mesic and upland areas dominated by Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense); beaver-created wetlands; and maintained utility line areas. Our research includes 24 radio-transmitted turtles that are tracked on foot by homing 1-2 times a week. From May 2013 to February 2017 we collected an average of 74 radiolocations (range: 6 to 166) per turtle. Home ranges (100% minimum convex polygon) varied from < 1 to over 10 ha (average: 3.1 ha). Radiotracked turtles primarily used mixed-upland areas and regions dominated by L. sinense. Overall, L. sinense was the most prevalent understory vegetation at T. carolina radiolocations. The assessment of habitat use and home ranges will continue throughout 2017 with tracking and further data analysis.

Keywords

Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina, population decline, habitat

Presentation Year

2017

Publication Type and Release Option

Event

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Habitat Use and Home Range of Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) in North Georgia Piedmont

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a terrestrial species native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire to Georgia. Terrapene carolina is experiencing range-wide population decline and is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Despite the species' status, little research has been conducted regarding home range and habitat use in the Southeastern US. To contribute to the knowledge of the species in this region, we have conducted a radiotelemetry study since 2013 to investigate factors that influence T. carolina movement, survival, and habitat use in the Northeastern Piedmont region of Georgia. The study site is composed of mixed hardwood-pine uplands, primarily comprised of oaks and maples; mesic and upland areas dominated by Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense); beaver-created wetlands; and maintained utility line areas. Our research includes 24 radio-transmitted turtles that are tracked on foot by homing 1-2 times a week. From May 2013 to February 2017 we collected an average of 74 radiolocations (range: 6 to 166) per turtle. Home ranges (100% minimum convex polygon) varied from < 1 to over 10 ha (average: 3.1 ha). Radiotracked turtles primarily used mixed-upland areas and regions dominated by L. sinense. Overall, L. sinense was the most prevalent understory vegetation at T. carolina radiolocations. The assessment of habitat use and home ranges will continue throughout 2017 with tracking and further data analysis.