Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Wood turtle--Habitat--Iowa--Black Hawk County; Wood turtle--Home range--Iowa--Black Hawk County;


A wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) population in Beaver Creek Falls Access Area (BCFAA), Black Hawk County, Iowa was studied from 2009 – 2012. A total of 35 turtles (16 females, 16 males, 3 juveniles) were captured and 25 adults (13 females; 12 males) were tracked via radio telemetry. Estimated population size was 39 (95% confidence interval 33 – 45) turtles. Excluding hibernation locations, wood turtles were 49.8% aquatic and 50.2% terrestrial. Habitat usage was not proportional to habitat availability. Emergent grasses and forbs (52.5%), deciduous forest (43.1%), and lotic habitat (45.5%) were the most frequently utilized habitats. Wood turtles were mostly aquatic during the Prehibernation period and were more terrestrial during the remaining active periods. Females moved longer distances during the Nesting period than males; during the remaining three activity periods, males moved longer distances than females. Wood turtles were not located farther than 155 m from water during the entire study period. During the Nesting period, males were located farther from water than females, while females were farther from water than males during the Postnesting and Prehibernation periods. Mean home range size for 22 radio tracked wood turtles (11 females; 11 males) was 11.4 ha (MCP 95%). Male home range size (X = 13.3 ha) was not significantly different than that of females (X = 9.5 ha). Difference in home range size between the East section (X = 12.2 ha) and West section (X = 4.4 ha) was marginally significant. Home ranges overlapped frequently between sexes in both the East and West sections of the study site. Home range size and population size were both smaller for BCFAA turtles in a suburban habitat compared to two Butler County populations, one that occupies a wildlife management area, and another in a less disturbed rural area. Due to the combination of human impact and low habitat quality, BCFAA wood turtles display low population density, and have small individual home ranges with a high percentage of overlap. At BCFAA wood turtles are often found close to water but must move large distances to meet their ecological needs compared to other populations.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Biology

First Advisor

Jeff Tamplin

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 94 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download