Date of Graduation

Summer 2013

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Day Ligon

Keywords

Macrochelys temminckii, reintroduction, turtle community, species diversity, habitat associations

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is a long-lived species that merits reintroduction because the species has declined significantly throughout its range. The purposes of this study were to: 1) report the findings of a reintroduction project that was initiated in 2008 and 2) to compare habitat associations of all aquatic turtle species in the Caney, Verdigris, and Spring rivers in northern Oklahoma. Alligator snapping turtles were released in the Caney River in 2008, 2009, 2010, and all released individuals exhibited substantial annual growth rates upon recapture 1–3 years later. Additionally, no decline in body condition was observed. Capture probability was estimated to be 30%, and annual survival was estimated to be 64%. This survival estimate may be lowered by dispersal of animals away from the sampling area. Among the three rivers and three tributaries sampled, Pond Creek, a tributary of the Caney River, had the highest diversity. Big Creek, a tributary of the Verdigris River, supported a turtle community that was comparatively dissimilar to other sites sampled, including in comparison to the main channel of the Verdigris River. Possible displacement of Ouachita map turtles (Graptemys ouachitensis) was observed where alligator snapping turtles were introduced.

Copyright

© Travis Lee Anthony

Campus Only

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