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Title:Turtles in Trouble
Author(s):Adamovicz, Laura
Subject(s):Comparative Biosciences
Abstract:Pictured is a wild ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) awaiting veterinary evaluation at a temporary field lab in southern Illinois. Following physical examination, weigh-in, shell measurements, blood sample collection, and swabbing of the mouth and cloaca, the turtle was released at his original site of capture to get on with his day. Ornate box turtles are a species in decline. In Illinois, their range has been reduced by over 50% since 1980. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for chelonians (turtles and tortoises). Chelonians are the most vulnerable vertebrate taxa, with an estimated 60% of the world’s 331 species either threatened, endangered, or extinct. Health assessment is an important, but underutilized, component of conservation efforts for chelonian species. The goal of my research is to use a combination of veterinary health assessment and modeling approaches to identify the drivers of box turtle population wellness and inform effective conservation strategies. This involves performing health assessments on up to 100 wild turtles three times annually, describing the distribution and drivers of infectious diseases, identifying ecological parameters associated with poor health, and investigating mortality events. My research will generate evidence-based management recommendations to help support struggling box turtle populations in Illinois and beyond.
Issue Date:2017
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Laura Adamovicz
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-04-21

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