Inter- and intra-population variation in home range of the Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina

Authors: Amy Kish*, , John Roe, UNCP
Topics: Environmental Science, Animal Geographies
Keywords: spatial ecology, population variation, home range, Eastern Box Turtle, radiotelemetry
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Eastern Box Turtle populations have been declining across their range. We studied the spatial ecology of two populations of box turtles in sandhills and coastal plain regions that differ in several environmental variables including forest communities, elevation, hydrology, and fire. Using radiotelemetry and GIS, we estimated annual home ranges by minimum convex polygon (MCP) and kernel density (KD) methods for 26 and 29 turtles at each site to determine sources of variation among individuals. Home range sizes at the coastal plain site were 50% larger than at the sandhills site, and 67% larger for females than males at each site. Kernel density estimates were nearly double those of the MCP. Females likely use larger areas due to reproductive requirements as they often move to distant nesting locations. Coastal plain environments offered broader areas of preferred mesic forest habitat over which individuals could range, while suitable habitat was more restricted to smaller patches along streams in the sandhills. Home ranges of most sandhills turtles were largely constrained to areas that offer refuge from fire. These results highlight the variable behaviors between box turtle populations and suggest different conservation and management strategies may need to be applied.

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