Great Lakes coastal wetland habitat use by seven turtle species: Influences of wetland type, vegetation, and abiotic conditions

Alex C. Wieten, Matthew J. Cooper, Aaron D. Parker, Donald G. Uzarski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Great Lakes coastal wetlands are important habitats for turtles but few studies have looked at factors driving community structure in these systems. We evaluated the effects of wetland type, vegetation, and abiotic conditions on turtle communities for 56 wetlands in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior with data collected during the summers of 2000-2008. Overall, 1,366 turtles representing seven species were captured using fyke nets. For the majority of species, catches were highest in drowned river mouth wetlands In addition, turtles tended to be more abundant in water lilies, submersed aquatic vegetation, and cattails compared to bulrush. We also found positive correlations between catches of four of the species as well as total turtle catch and turtle species richness with a human disturbance gradient. These correlations suggest that turtles may be able to utilize coastal wetland areas that are inhospitable to fish because of hypoxic conditions. Our results show the importance Great Lakes coastal wetlands to turtles, and stress the need for managers to take into account turtle populations when preparing conservation and restoration strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalWetlands Ecology and Management
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Apalone spinifera
  • Chelydra serpentine
  • Chrysemys picta
  • Coastal wetlands
  • Community composition
  • Emydoidea blandingii
  • Graptemys geographica
  • Great Lakes
  • Sternotherus odoratus
  • Trachemys scripta
  • Turtles

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Great Lakes coastal wetland habitat use by seven turtle species: Influences of wetland type, vegetation, and abiotic conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this