• Chrysemys picta (Painted turtle) Demographic and Home Range Patterns in Rural vs. Urban Ponds

      Garneau, Danielle; Drollette, Kelley; Whyte, Cassondra (2014)
      Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In summer/fall 2013, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both a rural and urban pond setting near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural quarry pond (Chazy, NY). We performed capture-mark- recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by notching the carapace with a file using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and age by size of the turtle. We found that the rural site contained more adults and both sites were female skewed. Program Mark was used to estimate rates of survival, immigration, recapture, and population size (N). The rural had approximately 1.4 times more painted turtles than the urban site. Survival rates were higher at the rural pond. Monthly, home range size fluctuated among female turtles and was largest earlier in the season. The smallest home range occurred the month prior to overwintering, as temperatures declined. Smartphone location-enabled Google forms grossly overestimated home range size, this error reduced when time was taken to sync data when accuracy values were low. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split/fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
    • Chrysemys picta (Painted turtle) Demographic Patterns in Rural vs. Urban Ponds

      Garneau, Danielle; Gardner, Brittany; Galante, Desiree (2014)
      Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In fall 2012, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both a rural and urban pond setting near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural quarry pond and wildlife management area (Chazy, NY). We performed capture-mark-recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by notching the carapace with a file using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and age by size of the turtle. We found that the rural site contained more adults and more males. We found that there were more painted turtles in the rural as compared to urban areas, which may be due to lesser predation and road mortality risks. The results from this local turtle project will become part of a continental-scale survey of turtle population health. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split, habitat fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
    • Survey of Muskrat Population on Ausable and Wickham Marshes in Clinton County, New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Premo, Josh; Podwirny, Kate; Smith, Caleb (2014)
      The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is a medium sized aquatic rodent that historically has been an important fur bearing mammal for the eastern United States. From late January through mid-March, 2010, both Wickham and Ausable marshes in Clinton County, New York were surveyed to assess muskrat distribution and abundance patterns. Using belt transects, Wickham marsh was surveyed entirely. As a result of unseasonably warm weather and ice instability, only a section of the Ausable marsh was surveyed and will be completed next winter. Vegetation at each GPS marked den site was noted, as well as den height and width. Following the ground survey, GPS locations of den sites were imported into an ArcMap project to facilitate occupancy comparisons between marshes. Results from this survey suggest that there is overlap in home range and territories of most muskrats on these marshes, and that the dens are often associated with emergent grasses and shrubs. The width of the muskrat dens was not significantly different (p = 0.21) between the marshes, in contrast to their height (p = 0.011). Results from this study suggest that differences in the management practices at the two marshes could influence the distribution of muskrats. This study provides information which can help assist wildlife managers and will add to the gap in literature for this ecosystem engineer.