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Tuesday, January 26 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
The Effects of Nest Site Selection On Nest Success and Neonate Survival of Eastern Box Turtles Terrapene Carolina Carolina In Michigan

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AUTHORS: Joseph Altobelli*, Patrick B. Laarman, Jennifer Moore – Grand Valley State Univeristy

ABSTRACT: Turtles and tortoises are experiencing global declines in population numbers due to their sensitivity to environmental conditions as well as anthropogenic interactions. Climate change not only influences patterns of speciation and extinction within taxonomic groups, but also affects the phenology, demography, and habitat selection of many species including turtles. We examined factors that determine nest selection by female eastern box turtles Terrapene carolina carolina and modeled environmental factors that affect nest fate of eastern box turtles in northern Michigan. Using radio telemetry, we tracked hatchlings during their first year of life to construct known fate models to estimate annual survivorship. Preliminary results show low nest success and low neonate survival. We predict that survival will increase with age and will depend on temperatures during overwintering. The results of this study will aid in forming more efficient management strategies for box turtle conservation and similarly susceptible ectothermic species worldwide.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST