Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Krebs, Robert

Subject Headings

Blanding's turtle -- Habitat -- Ohio, Emydidae -- Ohio, Wildlife management -- Ohio, Geographic information systems, Remote sensing, Blanding's turtle, Emydodidea blandingii, Ohio, GIS, Habitat, Remote sensing

Abstract

The Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) has received threatened status in the State of Ohio in 2010. The goal of this study is to provide information that can be used in conservation management to locate suitable habitat for conservation of the species as well as potential repatriation or trans location sites. Wetland Inventory and Land Use/Land Cover maps were combined with aerial photography to evaluate regions located in Ohio's Lake Erie Drainage Basin that would meet the essential requirements of the turtles life history by quantitative methods used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing programs. This study identified suitable wetlands and vernal pools, lakes and ponds, and other areas with minimum canopy for nesting and movement. Throughout the region, the highest concentration of available habitat is found in Erie, Lucas, and Ottawa counties of the Blanding's turtle's historical range. This approach to creating Habitat Niche Models was validated by close correlation between the counties identified as having remaining appropriate habitat and the counties from the historical populations in which Blanding's turtles still remain. The potential exists to restore these areas through various means: restoring wetlands, protecting areas near agriculture that are more suitable for nesting, constructing small tunnels under roads and fences, and installing road warning signs to allow for safer migration. With protection and restoration of the habitat, the species may still have a chance to recover and become a stable population without the need for intense management

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