Patrick Laarman ACF Abstract FY 12

"Habitat Use, Home Range, and Hibernaculum Sites of the Eastern Box Turtle in Northern Michigan"

Conference Name: 18th Annual Conference of the Wildlife Society

Pat Laarman Undergrad Natural Resource Management Program (GVSU),

Chris Schumacher Wildlife Biologist® (USFS), and Paul Keenlance Ph.D. (GVSU)

Populations of eastern box turtles, Terrapene carolina carolina, are declining throughout much of their North American range. Despite protection under CITES Appendix II and a state listing of special concern, to our knowledge only one study has been published on this species in its Michigan range. According to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, eastern box turtles occur in 20 Michigan counties. In 2010, personnel from the Manistee Ranger District (USFS) radio collared and monitored two adult box turtles in the Manistee National Forest. Presently, USFS wildlife personnel are increasing efforts to locate and monitor additional individuals. During the summer of 2011, 15 adult turtles were monitored using radio telemetry. Turtles were radio collared in Manistee, Mason, and Lake Counties. Based on current distribution information, turtles in these counties represent the most northerly population of box turtles in the world. Methods of locating turtles for capture included road sightings and visual searches. During April-October, in 2011, turtles were monitored on federal land. Turtles were tracked to their exact location allowing for additional observations. Data regarding locations, macro and micro habitat use, proximity to water, use of cover objects, age (1-20, or 20+), and location of hibernacula is to be statistically analyzed using SPSS 18 ™ software. Telemetry points will be plotted in GIS software to map seasonal movements, home range, and hibernaculum sites. Mapping the locations of female turtles during nesting season may provide managers with clues about the movements and locations of female turtles during this critical reproductive period. Results will be provided to the USFS to inform future decisions regarding forest management and harvest strategies in areas where box turtles occur.

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