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Abstract

Environmental temperatures are rising in most environments due to global warming, and impacting activity and physiology for many species. Energy allocation towards growth and reproduction for ectotherms can be affected by environmental temperature fluctuations which can lead to early emergence from brumation when food sources are not yet available. Understanding climatic effects on ectotherms is critical as many ectothermic species, in part because of their high ecological efficiency, have large impacts on their environments. For example, turtles are significant contributors to environmental health through bioturbation, mineral cycling, seed dispersal, grazing, soil disturbance, and biomass production. Although most turtles are categorized as threatened by the IUCN, research towards environmental effects on turtle physiology and behaviors seems deficient but vital considering how significant turtle species are to the environment. To assist in understanding temperature influences on Box Turtle physiology, we are investigating a population of Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) in North Georgia currently being studied using radiotelemetry. From 2019-2020, temperature data loggers (iButtons®) were placed distally on the turtle’s carapace as well as throughout the environment to record available temperatures. We predict that the change in yearly temperatures in early spring (April through June) might affect Eastern Box turtle thermoregulatory strategies and energy use by altering emergence patterns and metabolic rates due to changing temperatures.

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Metadata

  • Subject
    • Biology

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Abby Neyer, Dr. Natalie Hyslop, Dr. Jennifer Mook