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Title:Tiny Nature
Author(s):Kane, Lauren
Contributor(s):Allender, Matthew C.
Subject(s):Comparative Biosciences
Abstract:Eastern box turtles are viewed as sentinels of ecosystem health. Recently, population declines have been observed in numerous areas throughout its range. While a combination of factors is likely playing a role in these declines, disease outbreaks have been emerging across the eastern United States in chelonians. Turtle life history characteristics, such as delayed sexual maturity, may put them at an increased risk and slower population recovery following these declines. One of the known pathogens that cause disease is a herpesvirus. My research aims to better characterize the disease epidemiology of herpesvirus in free-ranging eastern box turtles. To achieve this, turtles are found in a variety of forests, their natural habitat, in Illinois. These turtles, both adults and hatchlings (shown), are tested for DNA evidence of herpesvirus. My image is a reminder that box turtles rely heavily on juvenile survivorship and low adult mortality to maintain stable populations. The importance of identifying emerging disease outbreaks is critical to preventing the continual population declinations. The key to conservation is to continue to support the ecosystem health in natural areas around us.
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-20

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