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Manusco, A., & Green, T. 2011. Factors affecting the home range of eastern box turtles at brookhaven national laboratory. Natural Resource Management at Brookhaven National Laboratory. 24 pp. 
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich (18 Nov 2012 17:43:43 UTC)   Last edited by: Beate Pfau (18 Nov 2012 20:09:31 UTC)
Resource type: Government Report/Documentation
BibTeX citation key: Manusco2011
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Categories: General
Keywords: Emydidae, Habitat = habitat, Nordamerika = North America, Schildkröten = turtles + tortoises, Terrapene, Terrapene carolina
Creators: Green, Manusco
Publisher: Natural Resource Management at Brookhaven National Laboratory
Views: 14/2012
Views index: 56%
Popularity index: 14%
URLs ... dlife/research.asp
Widespread among the many acres of Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), the Eastern Box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) finds its niche in the dense understory of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. Box turtles move within a central home range, which varies among individual turtles and amount of habitat present. Disturbances, such as roadways, buildings, removal of forest, and change in ground cover impact turtle movement and behavior. Specifically, with the recent addition of a 200 acre solar farm on the property, it is being questioned whether the turtles will be disturbed and change their home range. Understanding the home range of each turtle gives better insight as to whether they will move nearer to or away from the solar farm. Twenty-eight turtles were found as part of the study. Each turtle was weighed, measured, and notched on three scutes around the rim of the carapace. After collecting the initial data, radio transmitters were attached to the lower portion of the carapace. Six turtles were chosen to be part of the radio telemetry study. Each transmitter has a unique frequency, which helps to identify the turtles in their specific home ranges. The turtles were tracked once daily to observe the distance traveled and vegetation they prefer to burrow or forage in. Their locations were recorded using a Global Positioning System and represented visually using Geospatial Information Systems mapping technology. Each turtle had a unique movement pattern, but they all stayed within a 0.3 – 1.7 hectare area. The turtles with frequencies 149.843 MHz, 149.802 MHz, 149.852MHz remained in a close home range and preferred the pitch pine/white oak habitat with a huckleberry/blueberry dominated understory. Transmitters with frequencies 149.833 MHz, 149.813 MHz, 149.822 MHz, all female, had greater movement going deep in the forest or walking across the dirt roads. These turtles moved from areas of no vegetation to dense barberry and blueberry thickets. Females typically have a greater range of movement than males, which explains their varied habitat preference. The more significant changes in movement indicate the possibility of disturbances caused by roads fragmenting the forest or by human activity. Turtles 802 and 822 are closest to the solar farm and are slowly moving away from the site. Future studies will investigate whether the Eastern Box turtles with transmitters, as well as others, will travel into the solar array area using the wildlife friendly fencing.
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich  Last edited by: Beate Pfau
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