Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Joseph Ullmer
Title Threats to spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) habitat in Ohio
Department Biology
Advisor Tim Lewis
Year 2003
Honors University Honors
PublicationA version of this thesis was published in Ohio Journal of Science. 104(3) June 2004. 65-71.
Users from Wittenberg and other OhioLINK member institutions may access the article online and in print in Wittenberg's Science Library. This article was co-authored with Professor Tim Lewis in Wittenberg's Biology department and Jennifer Mazza from Wittenberg's class of 1999.
Full Text The full text of the thesis is not available at this time. Please contact the library for assistance.
Abstract Spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata primarily occupy permanent wetlands. Populations of those turtles have declined, maily as a result of predation, collection, and habitat loss (Ohio has lost more wetlands than any other state, with teh exception of California). This study invovle the identification and qualitative analysis of known (recent and passt) spotted turtle habitats in Ohio. Wh checked for the presence of invasive plant species, which consisted of huneysuckle (Lonicera spp.), buckthorn (Rhamnus spp.), and cattails (Typha spp.), as well as local and regional habitat fragmentation in these areas. We noted if sites had been developed or otherwise changed, which would result in the expatriation of the turtles. We visited 48 or 50 previously identified Ohio C. guttata habitats, of which 8 had been developed and wer no longer habitable. Of the remaining sites, 57% had significant invasive species, 64% wer regionally fragmented, and 51% showed signs of intrasite fragmentation. Only 5% (2 sites) showed no site-specific threats. Thus, most Ohio habitats were marginal for spotted turtle populations. Isolation also threatens turtle populations. These sites are widely separated from each other within three main regions in the state, in southwestern Ohio by approximately 50km, 5.0 km in northwestern Ohio, and 30 km in northeastern Ohio. Given the current population isolation, presence of invasive species, fragmentation, and the increase in development of habitats, we conclude that the spotted turtle habitats are at risk in Ohio, and that populations in the state will continue the decline noted in previous research.

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