Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. William Stark

Abstract

I researched aquatic turtle population structure and habitat association of the turtles of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (QNWR), in central Kansas. This group of organisms was focused on because of the lack of baseline knowledge and understanding of species presences, population sizes, structure, or habitat use on the refuge. I selected wetland units for sampling based on water permanence and quality of habitat. I then deployed baited hoop traps on these wetland units from April 24 to July 4, 2015. Captures were identified to species, measured, marked, and then release. Schnabel Multiple Census Method and Combined Percent Estimates were used to estimate population sizes. The results from these estimates were then extrapolated to the other wetland units on QNWR and a refuge wide population estimate was calculated. Adult sex ratios and age classes were generated for each species based on measurements taken during sampling. Abundant population sizes were observed on QNWR, with a male-biased sex ratio for hard-shelled turtles, and a female-biased sex ratio for soft-shelled turtles. This biased sex ratio could be the result of sampling technique, close proximity to roadways, Temperature Sex Determinate species, or due to high mortality rates of breeding and nesting individuals. Wetland unit variables were measured for sampled wetland units, and their influence on aquatic turtle abundance was investigated with a One-way Analysis of Variance. Significant results was obtained for Apalone spinifera and Chelydra serpentina, providing support for their known life histories and habitat preferences. Insights into seasonal turtle activity was recorded, and early season intensive monitoring protocols were suggested for continued research and management for the aquatic turtle populations of QNWR.

Rights

Copyright 2015 Jeffrey T. Seim

Library Call Number

LD2652 .T5 B5 S456 2015

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

Included in

Biology Commons

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