Bog Turtle

Bog turtle populations are experiencing dramatic declines throughout their range. Many seemingly viable populations remain in New York State, but several have disappeared during the past several decades. Habitat loss is suspected as the primary reason for these declines. The bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) is globally threatened, with many populations of only 5 to 50 individuals.  Current research focuses on two aspects of the conservation of this species:

  1. Investigating connections between landscape factors and bog turtle persistence and extirpation to better understand bog turtle ecology and make informed conservation decisions, and
  2. Investigating inter-population movements to inform regional conservation planning to ensure population persistence.

Project Title: Multiple-scale factors influencing bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) occurrence and persistence in southeastern New York State

Summary:
The intent of this research is to better understand factors contributing to local bog turtle population extirpations by investigating connections between landscape factors and bog turtle persistence and extirpation. Landscape variables will be investigated primarily using geographic information systems. Testing hypotheses regarding bog turtle microhabitat selection through radio-telemetry studies will also help inform mechanisms behind these relationships. Results will be used to make recommendations for bog turtle conservation practices and future research investigating bog turtle ecology.

Location: Southeastern New York State

Timeline: 2009-2011

Field participants: Michaela TerAvest, Kevin Shoemaker, and Santino Lauricella,

Principal Investigators:
James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, New York, USA

Funding:
Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Contact:
Andrew Myers, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210 USA, atmyers@syr.edu, (989) 614-1034
 




Project Title:
Demography and Population Genetics of the Bog Turtle in Eastern New York: Implications for Regional Conservation Planning

Summary:
The globally threatened bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii), typically occurs in low-abundance populations of 5 to 50 individuals, yet the conservation value of small bog turtle populations remains unclear. Designing effective reserve networks for this species requires (1) clarification of long-distance dispersal rates and the relevant spatial scales at which gene flow occurs and (2) additional information regarding effective regional monitoring strategies for bog turtle populations and reliable metrics of habitat quality and population health. The primary objectives of this project are to (1) estimate vital rate parameters for bog turtles using a long-term mark-recapture dataset, (2) assess regional gene flow using population genetics, and (3) use these two sources of information to project population and metapopulation dynamics. Findings from this project suggest that regional conservation planning should focus on establishing and maintaining loosely connected networks of population complexes to mimic historical connectivity patterns and help ensure the long-term persistence of this diminutive yet charismatic species.

Location:
Dutchess County, New York, USA

Timeline:
2007 – 2011

Field participants:
SUNY-ESF: Kevin Shoemaker, Ph.D Candidate, and paid technicians Alex Krofta, Santino Lauricella, Justina Fedorchuk, and William Langworthy (paid technician).

Principal Investigators:
James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, New York, USA

Funding:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Contact:
Kevin T. Shoemaker, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210 USA, kevintshoemaker@gmail.com, 315/470-6754