Analyzing the Relationship Between Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) Distribution, Soil and Hydrologic Conditions in Western North Carolina

Sydney Anderson

Abstract


The goal of this study was to investigate a correlation between soil temperature, water table depth, soil properties and water chemistry in comparison to the distribution of six telemetry tagged bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) between May to December 2015. The larger purpose of this project was to develop a more thorough understanding of bog turtle habitat requirements and ecology, and to aid mountain wetland conservationists in preservation of the rare bog turtle and its equally unique habitat. The data suggested there may be a correlation between high soil organic carbon percentage at points of high bog turtle activity, and low organic carbon percentage for points classified as little bog turtle activity, with exception to points 2 and 5 which exhibited the opposite. There was a trend of high soil temperatures (7.0 -8.99°C) with turtle’s 4.0, 4.1 and 3.4 potential points of hibernation, and the presence of groundwater seeps within each turtle’s distribution over the study period. Turtle’s 3.4 and 0.4 exhibited wide-spread movement; however, there appeared to be little evidence for correlation to this activity and the fluctuation of water table. When examining all other abiotic factors such as soil pH, water chemistry, water temperature/conductivity/pH, the data suggested that there was no apparent correlation between the distributions of the six telemetry tracked bog turtles. However, with an increased availability to data and time for analysis, a trend may become evident in future studies.


Keywords


Bog Turtles, Distribution, Mountain Bog, North Carolina, Conservation, Soil, Hydrology

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