The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata, is a threatened species in the state of Iowa. We attempted to assess turtle population dynamics of this species by conducting a mark-recapture study in the Mallard Pools area of the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County, IA. Turtles in the area were marked and recaptured from 1995 to the present. Using the Jolly-Seber method, we estimated that there was an average of 265.3 turtles in the area throughout the study period. Adult turtles survived at a rate of 93% between each year of the study. Net migration from the population was equal to -1 individual over the entire study period. Violations of Jolly-Seber assumptions contributed to some minor inaccuracies in our results, particularly survival rates.
Michael Lommler, ’06 Springfield, IL
Majors: Biology, Environmental Studies
Fredoon Mistry, ’07 Littleton, CO
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sponsor: S. Andrew McCollum