Freshman Scholars Program 2014

Population Structure of Pond Turtles in Relation to an Urbanization Gradient

Instructor:  Todd Fredericksen, Ph.D.

Project Description:

Students interested in environmental science or biology.

Aquatic turtles throughout the world are threatened by habitat destruction and direct exploitation.  Adult females are particularly vulnerable to mortality in urbanized areas because they leave water bodies to lay eggs during the summer and may need to cross roads and grassy areas where they may be run over by automobiles or mowers.  Likewise, hatchlings are subjected to the same mortality risks on their way to ponds, as well as an additional risk of predation because of their small size.  In the past two summers, Ferrum College students have participated in a national collaborative project to determine if higher mortality risks with increasingly urbanized environments results in skewed sex and age ratios in pond turtles.  The student working in this project will capture, measure, and mark turtles in two ponds on the Ferrum College campus, adding to our campus and national database.


Todd Fredericksen, Ph.D.

Todd Fredericksen is Associate Professor of Forestry and Wildlife in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Ferrum College in Virginia. He teaches courses in forestry, wildlife, ecology, natural resource management, conservation biology, and natural history. His research interests include the effects of forest management on biodiversity, natural history and conservation of animal species in the Blue Ridge Mountains, tropical and temperate silviculture, and forest regeneration ecology. He has served as an editor for the journal Forest Ecology and Management since 2007 and serves on the editorial boards of three other scientific journals. He is currently President of the Virginia Natural History Society and Treasurer of the Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Fredericksen directly at TFredericksen@ferrum.edu.

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