Research Projects


Anthropogenic influences on turtle populations

Many reptiles, including many turtle species, are increasingly impacted by human activity. Wild populations can be harmed by direct exploitation of the animals themselves, habitat loss and fragmentation due to development, pollution such as agricultural run-off, global climate change, and even recreational activities by humans, as well as a combination of these factors. A thorough understanding of the effects of these influences on populations, as well as the mechanisms by which populations might cope with their changing surroundings, is crucial for developing successful, cost-effective management and conservation strategies. Our lab is addressing several of these important conservation issues through projects involving population monitoring in Blanding's turtles (Kasuga & Janzen, 2008, Illinois DNR Report; Chandler et al., 2009, Illinois DNR Report) and in ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) (Bowen et al., 2004, J. Herpetol.); studying how anthropogenic activity influences turtle behavior and reproductive ecology (Kolbe and Janzen, 2002, Ecology; Bowen and Janzen, 2008, Chel. Conserv. Biol.; Strickland et al., 2010, J. Herpetol.); the effects of atrazine, an herbicide which has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor, on map turtles; and the effects of climate change on hibernation energetics (Willette et al., 2005, Can. J. Zool.), and on sex ratio and nesting behavior in species with temperature-dependent sex determination (Janzen, 1994, PNAS; Morjan, 2003, Am. Nat.; Schwanz and Janzen, 2008, Physiol. Biochem. Zool.; Huey and Janzen, 2008, Proc. R. Soc. Lond.; Mitchell and Janzen, 2009, Sex. Dev.).

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