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Turtle Demographic Survey in Rural and Urban Wetland Habitat

In June of 2012, I joined 31 other institutions (Ecological Research as Education Network- EREN) in a long-term collaboration to survey age structure and sex ratios of turtle populations in urban vs. rural ponds. All collaborators are from liberal arts institutions and our goal is to involve students, and perhaps embed the project in curriculum, such that the data grow and maintain. We aim to share the information beyond our local small scale ponds in order to make inferences into population changes as a function of land-use alteration.  For more information on the project, please contact  the coordinator:
Dr. David Bowne of Elizabethtown College        bowned@etown.edu

LIKE the TurtlePop Facebook Page   

Turtling pics summer 2015

Matt Smith with marked painted turtle summer 2015
Matt Smith marking a painted turtle
Grace DeSantis and Matt Smith measuring the foreclaw length on a painted turtle
Grace DeSantis notching the peripheral scutes of the painted turtle for mark-recapture analysis
 Painted turtle from survey

Smartphone app to log TurtlePop data:
Enter data using the Epicollect smartphone app. Simply install the Epicollect app on your phone and on an Android phone use the phone's menu button to upload the project entitled TurtlePop. On an iPhone, simply install the app and go to the SETTINGS option, toggle UPDATE FORMS to ON, replace the demoproject email address with your email address, and click in the PROJECT window to type the NEW project TurtlePop. Project forms will load into your app. Be sure the main page shows you are working in the TurtlePop project. This app will allow you to reference your turtle capture, link it to an image of the turtle, and respond to questions that will help address the gender and age class aspects of the project goals.

BE SURE TO SYNC the local  data from your phone to the epicollect TurtlePop project page  in order for the data to become part of the overall project. Syncing is often done in the ListEntries area.

To ACCESS the TurtlePop dataset , which has been collecting thus far using the app:

If you do not have a smartphone and want to participate, data can be entered into this google form by clicking HERE. will populate based on your current location, so if you are not in the field with wifi access to a computer, then use google maps later on and zoom in on location, right click to What's Here option and copy/paste the latitude/longitude that pops into the search window into the form section for latitude and longitude. Omit the accuracy entry and DO NOT HIT Show Location Information at the bottom above the SUBMIT.

The focal turtle species in upstate NY/Champlain Valley is the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta):

Students and I did some preliminary sampling in late summer/early fall 2012 at several ponds.

Urban site selection:
Specifically, we targeted the Champlain Valley hospital pond in Plattsburgh, NY and trapped with no luck. The pond is dominated by Canada geese.
We later selected the Barrack's golf course pond complex for the URBAN SITE because it is in close proximity to the international airport and is situated at the edge of the industrial park/old air force base.

Rural site selection:
We selected an abandoned quarry pond (colloquially known as Krystal Lake) as our rural pond in Chazy, NY. This lake is commonly inhabitated by Canada and snow geese, as well as numerous fish and other waterfowl. It is surrounded by apple orchards, an organic farm, and residences.

Team Turtle year 1:
Desiree Galante (Blue shirt) and Brittany Gardner (Yellow shirt)

Since we got our turtle hoop traps late in the season, we only marked and monitored a dozen or so herps.

Team Turtle year 2:
Kelly Drollete and Marc Peterson

Of course we get our occasional snapping turtle too...

Turtle release:
Turtle basking with transmitter:

Turtle swimming with transmitter:

Marc Peterson (SUNY Plattsburgh undergraduate) radiotracking a painted turtle

Turtle Radio Telemetry Forms:

ADK form (148.453)...ACTIVE!

ACK form (148.414)...offline

ACG form (148.323)...offline

ACL form (148.303)...offline

ABL  form (148.323)...offline

ABN form (148.303)...offline