Freshwater turtles are experiencing dramatic population declines due to human-caused stressors. Roads, in particular, have significantly increased turtle mortality rates through vehicle collisions. The Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is state endangered in New Hampshire and is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Blanding’s turtles are especially vulnerable to population declines because they reproduce late in life and their young have low survival rates. Adult Blanding’s turtles migrate from ponds to upland habitats to nest and hatchlings must later travel across the landscape to reach ponds. These overland movements increase the risk of vehicle collisions and predation. I had the opportunity to participate in the monitoring of local species by trapping, marking, and identifying turtles. In addition to field work, we used a Geographic Information System to assess the degree of wetland connectivity and identify priority areas for protection of Blanding’s turtles in southeastern New Hampshire. We identified the primary corridors that facilitate movement of Blanding’s turtles in this region and various areas that would benefit from restoration or protection to maintain connectivity.
Jennifer Purrenhage, Rebecca Rowe
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
Kelley, Maeve, "Behind the Scenes: Turtle Trapping and Connectivity Mapping for Endangered Blanding’s Turtle Conservation in Southern New Hampshire" (2022). Inquiry Journal. 11.