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Title:Turtles in Trouble
Author(s):Adamovicz, Laura
Subject(s):Comparative Biosciences
Abstract:Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) are a species in decline. Factors such as road mortality, habitat loss/fragmentation, and collection for the pet trade have been identified as major conservation concerns for this species. Recently, disease has emerged as another important factor in box turtle conservation. Significant mortality events attributed to a viral infection (ranavirus) have impacted box turtles in several states. Three additional infectious agents (herpesvirus, adenovirus, and Mycoplasma sp.) have also been recently identified in box turtles. Infection with these pathogens has been associated with illness and death in individual turtles, but the population impacts of these agents are currently unknown. As box turtle numbers continue to fall, the impacts of disease may become increasingly significant and could potentially alter the success of conservation efforts. My research involves assessing health in populations of free-living box turtles in order to inform effective conservation strategies for this species. Determining the presence, distribution, and effects of infectious agents in box turtle populations is one of my main goals. The attached image, a partially skeletonized turtle overlying a biohazard symbol, represents box turtle losses due to infectious diseases and illustrates an important component of my research at the University of Illinois.
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Laura Adamovicz
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-13

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