VARIATION IN GROWTH RATES OF EASTERN BOX TURTLES (TERRAPENE CAROLINA CAROLINA) IN AN INVASIVE-DOMINATED HABITAT IN NORTH GEORGIA**
Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation often leads to an increase in invasive, non-native plant species which can compete with native species for limiting resources, often reducing native biodiversity. Chinese privet (Ligustrom sinense) was introduced to the United States from China as an ornamental in the 19th century and is now a common invasive plant from Florida to Virginia and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. Uncontrolled, Chinese privet (privet) can form dense understory stands that frequently shade out native plants and tree seedlings. The resulting monoculture may alter many ecological factors including hydrology, soil composition, vegetative food resources, and invertebrate community composition. Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), native to the eastern United States, are in decline throughout much of their range. Evidence shows that habitat loss and degradation are major contributing factors in the diminishing populations of Eastern Box Turtles (EBT). Habitat alterations have occurred in areas where Chinese privet and EBT ranges overlap; however, little data has been published regarding the impacts of privet on EBT ecology and physiology. Using morphological measurements collected on 37 EBT (19M, 18 F) radiotracked in northeastern Georgia between 2013-2022, we examined growth differences by sex and age class of individuals using habitats with varying amounts of privet coverage. Understanding how invasive habitats affect box turtle growth may be used to guide future conservation efforts and management decisions.
UNG Dept. of Biology
Rodriguez*, Amy L.; Jones*, Emily E.; Hyslop, Natalie; and Mook, Jennifer
"VARIATION IN GROWTH RATES OF EASTERN BOX TURTLES (TERRAPENE CAROLINA CAROLINA) IN AN INVASIVE-DOMINATED HABITAT IN NORTH GEORGIA**,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 32.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/32