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Polluted waters have been shown to cause physiological distress in animals, including aquatic turtles that must surface to exchange gases. The rate of surfacing offers a simple method of quantifying behavioral responses to environmental stressors. The purpose of this study was to assess the frequency of turtles surfacing when held in water collected from eleven sites in Lake Lanier, Georgia and tributaries of that reservoir. Each water collection site was monitored for environmental parameters (e.g., temperature, pH, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, hardness, fecal coliform counts, and turbidity). Three adult turtles, tagged for identification using colored pipe cleaners wrapped around the carapace and plastron, were housed in individual aquaria containing 20-liters of water from each of the eleven sites. These were placed in a greenhouse with controlled temperature settings. Three turtles were placed in one aquarium that served as the experimental set-up and three in a separate aquarium to serve as control. The breathing frequency of the turtles was recorded using digital videography for one hour and viewed for analysis. To determine the significance in the breathing frequencies between set-ups, and the environmental parameters between sites, analysis of variance was used.


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  • Event location
    • Room 269 Open Classroom

  • Event date
    • 3 April 2013

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Melba Horton, Robert Fuller