• Environmental Specialist
    • Wake County, NC
    • Permanent Full-Time - $39,632.00 - $65,323.00 annually
    • Category: Engineering / Natural Resources / Forestry

Recent Paper on Thermal Biology of Box Turtles

Thermal biology of eastern box turtles in a longleaf pine system managed
with prescribed fire

John H. Roe, Kristoffer H. Wild, Carlisha A. Hall
Department of Biology, University of North Carolina Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372, USA

Fire can influence the microclimate of forest habitats by removing understory vegetation and surface debris. Temperature is often higher in recently burned forests owing to increased light penetration through the open understory. Because physiological processes are sensitive to temperature in ectotherms, we expected firemaintained forests to improve the suitability of the thermal environment for turtles, and for turtles to seasonally associate with the most thermally-optimal habitats. Using a laboratory thermal gradient, we determined the thermal preference range (Tset) of eastern box turtles, Terrapene carolina, to be 27–31 °C. Physical models simulating the body temperatures experienced by turtles in the field revealed that surface environments in a fire-maintained longleaf pine forest were 3 °C warmer than adjacent unburned mixed hardwood/pine forests, but the fire-maintained forest was never of superior thermal quality owing to wider Te fluctuations above Tset and exposure to extreme and potentially lethal temperatures. Radiotracked turtles using fire-managed longleaf pine forests maintained shell temperatures (Ts) approximately 2 °C above those at a nearby unburned forest, but we observed only moderate seasonal changes in habitat use which were inconsistent with thermoregulatory behavior. We conclude that turtles were not responding strongly to the thermal heterogeneity generated by fire in our system, and that other aspects of the environment are likely more important in shaping habitat associations.

Full text here.


North American Box Turtle Conservation Committee Announcements

1) Applications are now being accepted for 2018 Lucille F. Stickel Box Turtle Research Award.  
The North American Box Turtle Conservation Committee is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for 2018 Lucille F. Stickel Box Turtle Research Award. This award supports conservation projects and research on North American Box Turtles in the following categories: natural history, ecology, conservation, reproduction, and epidemiology. Grants range from $500 to $1000 and are awarded following a competitive proposal review process. Grant proposals must be submitted by January 31, 2018. Awards will be announced no later than March 2, 2018. Obtain an application at
2.) The Committee is also seeking a host institution for the Box Turtle Workshop planned for Spring 2019. The workshop consists of two days of presentations and a one-day field trip. Agenda and abstracts from past workshops are available at If your institution might be interested in hosting this workshop, please contact John Groves at


Recent Paper on New Amphibian Pathogen

Pathogenic lineage of Perkinsea associated with mass mortality of frogs across the United States

Marcos Isidoro-Ayza, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Daniel A. Grear, Megan Winzeler, Daniel L.
Calhoun & William J. Barichivich

Emerging infectious diseases such as chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infections are important
contributors to the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. We reviewed data on 247 anuran mortality events in 43 States of the United States from 1999–2015. Our findings suggest that a severe infectious disease of tadpoles caused by a protist belonging to the phylum Perkinsea might represent the third most common infectious disease of anurans after ranavirus infections and chytridiomycosis. Severe Perkinsea infections (SPI) were systemic and led to multiorganic failure and death. The SPI mortality events affected numerous anuran species and occurred over a broad geographic area, from boreal to subtropical habitats. Livers from all PCR-tested SPI-tadpoles (n = 19) were positive for the Novel Alveolate Group 01 (NAG01) of Perkinsea, while only 2.5% histologically normal tadpole livers tested positive (2/81), suggesting that subclinical infections are uncommon. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that SPI is associated with a phylogenetically distinct clade of NAG01 Perkinsea. These data suggest that this virulent Perkinsea clade is an important pathogen of frogs in the United States. Given its association with mortality events and tendency to be overlooked, the potential role of this emerging pathogen in amphibian declines on a broad geographic scale warrants further investigation.

Full text here.


2018 SEPARC Annual Meeting Information 

Call for Oral and Poster Presentation Abstracts
We are now accepting abstracts for our 2018 SE PARC Annual Meeting at Unicoi State Park and Lodge in Helen, GA on Feb. 22-25. The meeting's theme is "Resharpening the Tools for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation" with a symposium on "Broadening the Network". Abstracts for oral presentations are due by Dec. 15, 2017 and poster abstracts are due Jan. 15, 2018. Deadlines may be extended if needed. Please click here for more information, including abstract submission guidelines.

Amphibian and Reptile Biodiversity on United States Department of Defense (DoD) Installations

Do you know the answers to the questions below?
How many amphibian and reptile species are confirmed present on continental U.S. DoD properties?
What DoD Service has the most confirmed herpetofauna species?
What single military installation has the most herpetofauna species?
How many federally and state-listed herpetofauna species are confirmed present on DoD properties?
What non-native and native transplant herpetofauna species are found on DoD properties?
What is the most abundant venomous snake species confirmed on military lands?
If not, you will, after reading the attached Amphibian and Reptile Biodiversity on United States DoD Installations final report. This report provides data and data analysis for all herpetofauna species across 415 military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) installations/detachments. Collecting, analyzing, and summarizing this information has taken our DoD Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC) team four years to complete. I feel that this is one of our groups greatest accomplishments.
Here is a link to the document.
Chris Petersen
DoD PARC National Representative

Herp News from The Wildlife Society & Others

‘Got one!’: Agencies complete collaborative frog survey in Nevada
Each year, public volunteers join biologists from federal and state agencies, as well as from the Nevada National Heritage Program, to spend four nights camping to help protect Columbia Spotted Frogs.
Southeastern lizards adapt quickly to extreme weather
In one of the most rapid and detailed reported examples of adaptation, green anole lizards in the Southeast developed tolerance to lower temperatures after experiencing the selection pressure of an extreme winter.
Salamanders’ breeding season affects dispersal, gene flow
New research on salamander dispersal and gene flow in Missouri suggests that scientists should examine related species that breed in the same season to determine which ponds to protect for endangered amphibians.

Copyright © 2017 Jeff Hall, PARC Biologist, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp