GIS Map Gallery: January 2004

Movements of Wood Turtles

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Movements of Wood Turtles

The seasonal movements of wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta) differs tremendously. During the winter they stay in streams, hibernating and moving infrequently. In the warmer months they often travel upland, away from water. To evaluate their movement patterns and habitat use, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries used radio transmitters to observe wood turtles. The map shows locations of several turtles over a span of 4 years. The green triangles show turtle observations in the warmer months (April - October) and the white triangles show observations from November through March. In the cooler months locations averaged only 6 meters (n=235) from the stream, whereas in summer the average location was 56 meters (n=334) from a stream. The colored contour lines at 50 meter intervals provide a visual reference of distance from a stream. As you can see from the map all of the white triangles are very close to the stream, with the exception of one observation in late March (near the center of the map). GIS is a valuable tool for evaluating species locations and movements in relation to habitat features such as water, forest stands, or roads. The resulting information will assist land managers in providing adequate habitat conditions for this species.

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