Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In summer/fall 2013, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both a rural and urban pond setting near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural quarry pond (Chazy, NY). We performed capture-mark- recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by notching the carapace with a file using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and age by size of the turtle. We found that the rural site contained more adults and both sites were female skewed. Program Mark was used to estimate rates of survival, immigration, recapture, and population size (N). The rural had approximately 1.4 times more painted turtles than the urban site. Survival rates were higher at the rural pond. Monthly, home range size fluctuated among female turtles and was largest earlier in the season. The smallest home range occurred the month prior to overwintering, as temperatures declined. Smartphone location-enabled Google forms grossly overestimated home range size, this error reduced when time was taken to sync data when accuracy values were low. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split/fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
Student poster, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh