Habitat alteration and survival rates of the ornate box turtle

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2016-11-01
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Mitchell, Sarah
Bodensteiner, Brooke
Strickland, Jeramie
Quick, James
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Janzen, Fredric
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology seeks to teach the studies of ecology (organisms and their environment), evolutionary theory (the origin and interrelationships of organisms), and organismal biology (the structure, function, and biodiversity of organisms). In doing this, it offers several majors which are codirected with other departments, including biology, genetics, and environmental sciences.

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The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology was founded in 2003 as a merger of the Department of Botany, the Department of Microbiology, and the Department of Zoology and Genetics.

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2003–present

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Habitat destruction and modification may be the most prominent anthropogenic forces affecting extant biological systems. Growing evidence suggests that turtles are especially vulnerable to many anthropogenic stressors. We evaluated the effects of habitat modification on survival rates of the threatened ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) in northwest Illinois, USA, using a 20‐year mark‐recapture dataset. Longstanding development (i.e., cottages, outbuildings, landscape management) reduced the apparent survival of the ornate box turtle, especially among females. In contrast, smaller, more recent development (i.e., construction and paving of a bike path) did not have demonstrable negative effects on apparent survival. Our results indicate that the scale of development is important to consider in management and that adverse effects of anthropogenic development may require a considerable time frame to manifest in long‐lived organisms.

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This article is published as Mitchell, Sarah M., Brooke L. Bodensteiner, Jeramie T. Strickland, James K. Quick, and Fredric J. Janzen. "Habitat alteration and survival rates of the ornate box turtle." The Journal of Wildlife Management 80, no. 8 (2016): 1503-1508. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.21142.

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