A biotelemetric study comparing diving behavior and brumation sites of translocated and resident northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica) and their response to replica model turtles on artificial basking/nesting platforms in the Upper Niagara River
Date of Award
Edward A. Standora, Ph.D., Professor
Department Home page
Peter V. Lindeman, Ph.D., Professor
Christopher M. Pennuto, Ph.D, Professor
Robert J. Warren II, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Anthropogenic shoreline development leading to a lack of access to terrestrial nesting sites is one of the causes for northern map turtle decline in the upper Niagara River. Translocation of adult map turtles and the development of floating basking/nesting platforms were proposed as possible remedies for this population decline. Biotelemetry along with aerial and underwater drones were used to assess habitat preferences between resident and translocated turtles. It was expected that the platforms would be used for basking and nesting and that a platform located in a natural location would be more successful than one in a developed area, due to its close resemblance to the translocated turtles’ native habitat. The developed area platform received the most use. Map turtles did not use the platform for nesting. Comparisons were made between translocated and resident turtles’ basking behavior, depth selection, and brumation site selection. The highest number of turtles seen basking was between noon and 4 p.m. An air temperature exceeding water temperature by 9 °C frequently initiated basking behavior. Model turtles did not significantly alter basking behavior. Brumation habitats of translocated turtles was similar to that of resident turtles, with most turtles selecting sites in the river. The depths selected for brumation were similar between translocated and resident turtles. GIS modeling was used to define the areas used by the turtles. This information is being applied to conservation efforts that are currently being undertaken along the Niagara River to incorporate turtle nesting habitats in appropriate areas.
Karcher, Jesse M., "A biotelemetric study comparing diving behavior and brumation sites of translocated and resident northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica) and their response to replica model turtles on artificial basking/nesting platforms in the Upper Niagara River" (2019). Biology Theses. 35.