Department Chair

I. Martha Skerrett, PhD

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Biology, M.A.


Biology Department


Edward Standora, PhD

Department Home page

First Reader

Harold W. Avery, PhD

Second Reader

Christopher Pennuto, PhD

Third Reader

Robert Warren, PhD


Turtle populations throughout the world are in decline due to the effects associated with anthropogenic disturbances. Northern map turtles in the Upper Niagara River are facing the same effects associated with shoreline development, pollution, and human induced mortality. A biotelemetric study was conducted to understand the population structure, habitat use, and behavior of northern map turtles in the Upper Niagara River. Turtles were trapped, outfitted with radio and sonic transmitters, and tracked from August 2013 until April 2015. Invasive red-eared sliders, which also inhabit the Niagara River were captured and tracked to allow for comparison. This invasive species is a habitat generalist and may have negative impacts on native turtle species. Red-eared sliders were only tagged and tracked when they were sympatric with the northern map turtles. The northern map turtle population is rare and diminishing in the Upper Niagara River. There was no evidence to support sympatric red-eared sliders were threatening the few resident northern map turtles with competition. Northern map turtles generally had larger home ranges and moved greater distances than red-eared sliders. The presence of both species was significantly predicted by surface cover and spent most of their time along developed shorelines. There was no evidence to support a common hibernacula for northern map turtles and one northern map turtle nest was located. Marinas were important components of all the tracked turtle's home ranges and may represent an ecological trap.