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Monday, January 25 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
An 18-Year Study of Wood Turtles Glyptemys Insculpta in Northern Lower Michigan

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AUTHORS: Timothy Lewis*, University of St Thomas; Todd Arnold, University of Minnesota; Alaini Schneider, University of St Thomas; Philip Huber, US Forest Service

ABSTRACT: Wood turtles Glyptemys insculpta are found in the upper Midwest as well as east to the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout their range, numbers are declining such that they are protected at some level in most states and internationally. Wood turtles typically inhabit forested streams. Long-term studies offer different kinds of information useful to resource managers and biologists alike. We studied one population of wood turtles in Lower Michigan for 18 years, individually marking 259 different turtles (143 females, 88 males) with unique notching and most with pit tags. Over 100 were followed using radio transmitters. Genetic testing from scale samples estimated the population at 50 effective breeders and declining, although other population estimating methods (modified mark-recapture, MARC software) place the population at more than twice that, still declining. Males had lower long-term survival rates than females. Wood turtles are relatively easy to age in their earlier years, with average age of turtles captured at 14.8 years. Turtles spend most of their time within 100 meters of a major stream, with significant seasonal differences with June being the month of the most distant movements, and distances greater than 50 m from the stream by April, having some impact on site availability for controlled burns. Individuals radio located in multiple years give long-term habitat use information, including seasonal and annual differences. Comparison to other long-term studies of wood turtles show many similarities but a few significant areas of difference from this population.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Emerald B