HEALTH SCREENING OF AN AQUATIC TURTLE POPULATION IN NORTH GEORGIA, USA**
Turtles are some of the most threatened vertebrates on the planet with more than 50% of them being categorized as endangered. Many turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic and are important components of the aquatic food web, but their position in the web is jeopardized because they are negatively affected by poor water quality and several emerging infectious diseases, including Ranavirus. Ranavirus is known to occur in north Georgia amphibian populations, but aquatic turtles in Georgia have not yet been screened for this emerging pathogen. Oral swabs were collected from aquatic turtles on a regular basis throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 2022 for detection of Ranavirus via molecular analysis. We also recorded water quality data (i.e., dissolved O2, pH, temperature, fecal coliforms) and took standard measures of turtle size (e.g., carapace length, and weight). We hope to determine the status of Ranavirus presence in these turtle populations using quantitative PCR methods. This experimental design also enables us to examine the relationship between various aspects of water quality and potential Ranavirus infections. A better understanding of the prevalence of Ranavirus infections and the impacts of water quality will help us to mitigate the impact of the virus in Georgia and elucidate the role of turtles in Ranavirus transmission.
Duffus, Amanda L. J.; Fenner*, Ashley N.; Pugh*, E. Jill; Bender, Michael J.; and Mook, Jennifer L.
"HEALTH SCREENING OF AN AQUATIC TURTLE POPULATION IN NORTH GEORGIA, USA**,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/12