- Compton, Bradley William
University of Maine
Wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta) have declined throughout their range. They are listed as Special Concern, Threatened, or Endangered in most states in the U.S., and are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Little is known about the ecology and conservation status of wood turtles in northern New England. I studied conservation issues and habitat selection in a population in western Maine, and evaluated temperature as a potential limiting factor for wood turtles at the northern extent of their geographic range. I observed that nesting success can be extremely low during short, cool summers.
A degree-day model of incubation time was applied to historical weather data from across the wood turtle's range to estimate the proportion of years that eggs could successfully hatch, and predict the northern range limits of the wood turtle. The model supports the hypothesis that incubation temperature determines the northern range limits of wood turtles.