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It’s been an exciting week! We had the turtle tracking dogs here for four days and I’ve reach 131 turtles! I been really grateful to have some help from the high school students with CRESO. They’ve been really great and have helped me get things done faster and more efficiently!
I thought I would segway into the population decline of reptiles. The decline of amphibians has been well-publicized and reptiles are in the same peril. Reptiles and amphibians are environmental indicators and can often tell us the health of an ecosystem before we know it. For this reason it is important to determine the causes of the declines and help prevent further die-offs.
Many people have found frogs with an extra leg or a tail after the tadpole stage, however, the same hasn’t been found in reptiles. This has resulted in less education of the public about reptilian declines. They can be due to disease, habitat fragmentation, and the other stresses they encounter in the environment. As suburbia has expanded, the stresses on the turtles have increased exponentially causing more susceptibility for infection. With this and the entrance of novel diseases, the turtle population is declining at an extremely fast rate. As I mentioned before, we are testing for some of these diseases in this population.
In addition, my study site has sivilculture and clear-cut sites within it. In the past three years, the turtles here have been affected by these habitat changes, a drought, and a new subdivision built on one edge. There is also a quarry nearby. These turtles experience a great deal of different stressors and could be more at risk for infection!
With population declines occurring in reptiles and amphibians, health surveys have become very important!
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