Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Daniel D. Beck

Second Committee Member

Alison Scoville

Third Committee Member

Andrés García Aguayo

Abstract

Turtles are in trouble worldwide, with nearly half recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as needing special protection. The Eurasian pond and Neotropical wood turtles of the family Geoemydidae are the most diverse turtles and comprise ¼ of all turtle species yet basic information on their natural history is lacking. Moreover, seasonal tropical dry forest (SDTF), where many geoemydids exist, is considered the most endangered ecosystem in the world. We investigated the activity patterns, home range size, and microhabitat selection of the Mexican Spotted Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys rubida perixantha) in its SDTF habitat by tracking turtles with trail spools and radio telemetry. Our data show activity of R. r. perixantha was strongly associated with the intense dry season in the tropical deciduous forest, where turtles made fewer movements and walked significantly shorter distances (wet=46.8±3.6m, dry=21.4± 4m, P2=48.5, PThis was the first field study ever conducted on the endangered Mexican Spotted Wood Turtle in its native habitat.

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