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Tuesday, January 26 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Examining Habitat Variables of Juvenile Blanding’s Turtles Emydoidea Blandingii At Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw, MI, USA

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AUTHORS: Melissa Szymanski*, University of Michigan–Flint; Teresa Yoder-Nowak, University of Michigan–Flint

ABSTRACT: Conservation of long lived reptiles (e.g., turtles) has many different management strategies, one of them being headstarting. For this study, turtle eggs were collected, hatched, and hatchlings were raised in captivity at the Detroit Zoological Society for a year and a half before we released them into their native habitat within Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw, MI, USA. Headstarted Blanding’s turtles were released in varying microhabitats. This research looked at different habitat factors within a protected wetland including water depth, vegetation, substrate depth, water temperature, and interspecies interactions to assess the efficacy of release locations by measuring movement patterns and habitat use of headstarted Blanding’s turtles. Blanding’s turtles were tracked for eighteen months, as a part of an ongoing conservation effort, using radio telemetry to measure survival and to investigate the movements among habitats. Data from the turtles and their habitats were analyzed using regression analysis. By analyzing the habitat variables in this manner, relationships between habitat variables can be determined and used in future releases of headstarted turtles. This research will aid in making management decisions for this species which is a species of special concern in the state of Michigan.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST