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Movement, Seasonal Activity, and Home Range of an Isolated Population of Glyptemys muhlenbergii, Bog Turtle, in the Southern Appalachians
Lisa M. Smith and Robert P. Cherry

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 15, Issue 2 (2016): 207–219

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Southeastern Naturalist 207 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 22001166 SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST 1V5o(2l.) :1250,7 N–2o1. 92 Movement, Seasonal Activity, and Home Range of an Isolated Population of Glyptemys muhlenbergii, Bog Turtle, in the Southern Appalachians Lisa M. Smith1,*, and Robert P. Cherry1 Abstract - Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) is a small, federally threatened, aquatic turtle found only within a fragmented range in the eastern US. From 2005–2009, we studied the movements and home ranges of 9 adult turtles during the active season in an isolated population located in the Southern Appalachians. We used radio telemetry to locate turtles once a day for 1 week of every month, and then once a week for the rest of the month. We calculated average distance moved between locations for consecutive days. Movements of Bog Turtles averaged 13.00 m/d for females and 14.51 m/d for males with no significant difference between sexes. Movement distances were significantly shorter during the period following emergence from and the one preceding entrance into hibernation. We used 95% minimum convex polygon, 50% fixed-kernel density, and 95% fixed-kernel density to calculate home-range size. Home-range size was highly variable: the 95% kernel density estimation ranged from 0.21–2.43 ha and we detected no significant difference between sexes. Over the entirety of our study, more than 80% of home ranges were smaller than 1.55 ha. There was no significant difference between turtle home-range size during the breeding and post-breeding season for either sex. Our determinations of the average home-range overlap for individual turtles tracked in multiple consecutive years indicated that turtles remained in similar locations from year to year. Our population experienced 1 emigration— a turtle moved out of the bog into a nearby wetland—which suggested the importance of suitable corridors for movement and protection of additional habitat. Our results indicated that Bog Turtles have small home-ranges and are capable of existing in small wetlands; thus, management plans should incorporate surveys and protection of smaller wetlands that may be easily overlooked. Suitable buffer areas surrounding wetland habitat and stream corridors should be maintained and protected to promote connectivity to other Bog Turtle populations and allow for successful emigration. Introduction The federally threatened Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Schoepff) (Bog Turtle) is North America’s smallest aquatic turtle (Ernst et al. 1994, USFWS 1997). Bog Turtles occur in a fragmented range, inhabiting freshwater wetlands and spring-fed wet meadows of eastern North America. Bog Turtle populations have experienced declines as a result of illegal collection, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation (Carter et al. 1999, Ernst et al. 1994, Turtle Conservation Coalition 2011). In addition to human-caused threats, Bog Turtles are also limited by natural habitat loss due to drying and vegetational succession in the seasonally flooded wetlands where they occur (Chase et al. 1989, Morrow et al. 2001a). 1Blue Ridge Parkway, 5580 Shulls Mill Road, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. *Corresponding author - Lisa.Smith.7744@gmail.com. Manuscript Editor: John Placyk Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 208 Various environmental factors and biological needs influence Bog Turtle movement and habitat use. Biological needs include feeding, reproduction, basking, and availability of refugia (Lovich et al. 1992). Efforts to meet these biological requirements should be reflected in the turtle’s home range and movement patterns and should be correlated with lifetime reproductive success. Environmental factors including temperature, daily rainfall, and drought may influence movements and home range (Feaga 2010, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). Bog Turtles must be able to meet their biological requirements in a relatively small area because most wetlands containing Bog Turtles are less than 2 ha in extent (Lee and Norden 1996). Typically, Bog Turtles have small home ranges that vary from 0.05 ha to 0.178 ha in Maryland (Chase et al. 1989, Morrow et al. 2001b) to about 1.3 ha in Pennsylvania (Ernst 1977). Knowledge of home-range use, movement, overlap, and fidelity are critical for understanding spatial requirements of Bog Turtles on the landscape. We examined the spatial ecology of an isolated population of Bog Turtles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, a region of the Bog Turtle’s range that is understudied. The purpose of this paper is to describe the annual activity cycle and movement patterns of Bog Turtles, as well as evaluate its home-range size, overlap, and fidelity. We provide data on several individuals in an isolated population over multiple years. Field-site Description We studied Bog Turtles at a 1.99-ha wetland in northwest North Carolina. The site, classified as a Southern Appalachian Bog community (Price et al. 1994), is characterized by winding channels of water among suspended sphagnum mats typical of northern bogs. This high-elevation bog is located at ~1025 m asl. The majority of the site is unforested; Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth (Woolgrass), S. expansus Fernald (Wood Bulrush), Juncus effusus L. (Common Rush), J. debilis A. Gray (Weak Rush), Carex spp. (sedges) and Sphagnum spp. (sphagnum mosses) are the dominant species (Price et al. 1994). The shrub zone is poorly developed. The bog is enclosed by second-growth woodland vegetation and a dry meadow with scattered small trees and shrubs. A stream meanders along one edge of the bog with a side channel running along another edge of the dry meadow. Although nearby wetlands have historically supported Bog Turtles, the next-nearest wetland known to contain a viable population of Bog Turtles is located more than 30 km away (R.P. Cherry, pers. observ.). Methods From 2005 to 2009, we fitted 9 turtles with radio transmitters and tracked them for 1–4 y. We located turtles by trapping or by opportunistic encounters in the field. We sexed, weighed, measured, attached the transmitters, and returned the turtles to their capture location within 60 min. We used epoxy to attach 5.2-g, Model SB-2 transmitters (Holohil Systems, LTD, Carp, ON, Canada) to the rear of the carapace; the overall weight of the transmitter and epoxy was less than 10% of the turtle’s Southeastern Naturalist 209 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 weight. We tracked the radio-tagged turtles with a Wildlife Materials, Inc. (Carbondale, IL) Model TRX-1000S receiver and a Yagi 3-element antenna. We tracked turtles during the active season, usually from mid-April into October. During 1 week each month, we attempted to track turtles to obtain data on daily movements. We measured to the nearest meter the straight-line distance between the consecutive daily locations. We considered all movements to be linear and unidirectional. This sampling interval of 1 day allowed enough time for turtles to travel the length of their home range; therefore, we considered the observations as independent. After the week of daily tracking, we tracked turtles once a week for the rest of the month. We analyzed turtle movements for bimodal differences in movement by grouping measurements from the time preceding entrance to hibernation (16 September–1 November) and the period after emergence from hibernation (1 April–15 May), and comparing this value to movements during the warm summer months. We also examined the effect on movement of turtle habitat, specifically in or within 1 m of a channel. We defined channels as slow-moving, narrow, deep, second-order streams with a stable bank. Our hypothesis was that channels would facilitate turtle movement throughout the bog. We used locations of the turtles during the active season following emergence from hibernation, throughout the summer, and prior to their return into the hibernacula to calculate home ranges. We also determined separate breeding-season and post-breeding season ranges. We defined the breeding season as the time following emergence until the end of June; the post-breeding season extended from 1 July to entrance into the hibernacula. We used 3 different home-range estimators: minimum convex polygon (MCP), 50% fixed kernel density estimation (KDE), and 95% KDE. MCP is a simple method that requires drawing the smallest convex polygon that connects exterior locations, with no angle greater than 180° (Worton 1987). Although this method tends to overestimate home-range size because it includes unused portions of the habitat (Worton 1987), we calculated it so that we could compare our home-range sizes to those reported in other studies (Carter et al. 1999, Morrow et al. 2001b, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). KDE uses a nonparametric probability density function that can better account for the non-linear-shaped outlines of the home ranges (Worton 1989). The core area of each turtle’s home range was reflected by the 50% KDE. We used a smoothed cross-validation bandwidth estimator to calculate fixed-kernel estimates. We employed Geospatial Modeling Environment (GME) version 0.7.2.1 (Beyer 2012) to determine home-range estimates. We plotted home ranges in ESRI ArcMap 10.1 (ESRI, Redlands, CA) and calculated the overlapping area between home ranges. We conducted our analyses of movement and home-range data in PROC GLIMMIX with a negative binomial distribution in SAS Enterprise Guide 5.1 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Our analyses incorporated differences between the fixed effects of year (2006–2009), season, and gender, and the random effect of the individual turtle. We grouped the influence of stream channels on movement year and gender, and used the Mann-Whitney U-test to assess this variable. Prior to data analysis, we removed movements resulting in emigration. Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 210 Results We radio-tracked 9 Bog Turtles (6 males, 3 females) for 1–4 y. The average number of locations per turtle per year was 44.1 (range = 28–57). Movement rates for Bog Turtles were not significantly different between sexes (F1,6.8 = 1.56, P = 0.25) or years (F3,194.6 = 0.39, P = 0.76); males moved an average of 14.51 (± 24.04) m/d, and females moved 13.00 (± 21.00) m/d (Fig. 1). The average daily movement for all turtles was 14.09 (± 23.22) m/d. Distances traveled in 1 d ranged from 0–54 m. Movements during cooler months, prior to emergence and after entrance from the hibernacula, were significantly lower than movements during summer months (F1,338.4 = 24.50, P < 0.005); the average daily movement in the cool months was 7.85 (± 19.28) m/d and the average daily movement in the summer months was more than 2 times greater—16.75 (± 24.47) m/d. Activity levels for all turtles peaked in June at an average 23.40 (± 31.76) m/d, and remained high for July and August. Habitat, i.e., proximity to a channel, significantly affected movement rates. Turtles located in or near a channel moved significantly farther in a day’s time then turtles away from channels (U = 12014.5, n1 = 231, n2 = 150, P less than 0.001). The average turtle movement on land was 9.73 (± 19.71) m/d, while turtles in or near the channel moved 16.42 (±20.76) m/d. One turtle emigrated from the population during the study. This turtle was an adult male that moved 0.61 km downstream and crossed a 4th-order river to a nearby wetland not believed to contain any other Bog Turtles. After 2 weeks at his new location, we could no longer locate the turtle. We assume that he reentered the river and moved an unknown distance downstream. Home-range size varied between years, though these differences were not significant (F1,17 = 0.95, P = 0.34; Table 1). Home ranges varied in size as shown by Figure 1. Monthly average movements (m) of Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtles) in a southern Appalachian wetland from 2005 to 2009 (n = 354). Southeastern Naturalist 211 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 the 95% KDE values (range = 0.21–2.43 ha). Over the course of the study, more than 80% of turtles had a home range less than 1.55 ha. There was no significant difference between home-range size during the breeding and post-breeding season for either sex (F1,34 = 0.78, P = 0.38). We palpated female turtles during the breeding season and found no gravid turtles at any point during the study. Home-range overlap was considerable and was especially apparent when we tracked >4 turtles in a single year (Figs. 2, 3). Home-range overlap occurred both within and between genders. During the 2007 and 2008 field seasons, we tracked 5 and 8 turtles, respectively, and the results showed considerable overlap of corehabitat range in the central and southern areas of the bog, especially along the main and side channels. In 2007, average 95% KDE home-range overlap was 45.41% (± 27.65) between each pair of turtles. In 2008, when we tracked 8 turtles, 6 of those home ranges overlapped substantially, with an average of 58.39% (± 26.71) overlap between ranges. During 2008, two female turtles had home ranges that overlapped Table 1. Home-range sizes (ha) of Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) in a southern Appalachian wetland calculated using average minimum convex polygon (MCP), 50% kernel density estimator (KDE), and 95% KDE from 2005–2009. Turtle # n Sex MCP 50% KDE 95% KDE 2005 1.0 33 female 0.69 0.38 1.54 2006 0.9 33 male 0.98 0.59 2.43 1.0 30 female 1.16 0.21 1.53 1.1 28 male 0.45 0.18 0.89 Average 30 0.86 (± 0.37) 0.32 (± 0.23) 1.62 (± 0.77) 2007 0.6 50 male 0.61 0.18 0.91 0.7 57 male 0.16 0.03 0.21 0.9 54 male 1.30 0.29 1.45 1.0 40 female 1.24 0.22 1.47 1.1 56 male 0.55 0.07 0.48 Average 51 0.77 (± 0.49) 0.16 (± 0.11) 0.90 (± 0.57) 2008 0.5 34 male 0.62 0.60 0.46 0.6 42 male 0.49 0.17 0.82 0.7 22 male 0.28 0.04 0.33 0.9 55 male 0.78 0.35 1.53 1.0 41 female 0.73 0.12 0.75 1.1 54 male 2.45 0.21 1.62 1.5 41 female 0.31 0.12 0.54 2.0 30 female 0.78 0.23 1.03 Average 40 0.81 (± 0.69) 0.23 (± 0.18) 0.89 (± 0.48) 2009 0.9 39 male 1.14 0.37 2.00 1.7 25 male 0.30 0.18 0.84 Average 32 0.72 (± 0.60) 0.27 (± 0.13) 1.4 (± 0.82) Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 212 entirely with a male turtle’s home range. The male turtle had a large home-range during this year; the following year he emigrated from the population. Also in 2008, another male turtle’s home range overlapped entirely with 2 other turtles, 1 male and 1 female. Our values likely underestimate the degree of overlap between home Figure 2. Overlapping core home-ranges calculated using 95% kernel density estimator (KDE) of Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) in a southern Appalachian wetland in 2007. Southeastern Naturalist 213 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 ranges because we did not track every turtle in the population at any one time. Our extensive trapping efforts confirmed the presence of 16 Bog Turtles in the study population, and we believe that these turtles likely represent the majority of the remaining adult population at the site. Figure 3. Overlapping core home-ranges calculated using 95% kernel density estimator (KDE) of Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) in a southern Appalachian wetland in 2008. Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 214 We evaluated home-range fidelity for 5 turtles monitored in multiple consecutive years (Table 2). According to the 50% and 95% kernel density estimates, the percent of overlapping home range of individual turtles between years was highly variable. The average core-range overlap was 28.85% (± 23.89), and the average 95% KDE overlap was 46.19% (± 18.77). The percent home-range overlap ranged from 0.85% to 59.30% for the core-habitat areas, and from 4.43% to 68.97% for the overall home range. Although we removed emigration movement prior to the home-range calculation, the male turtle that emigrated had a very low percentage of home-range overlap between 2007 and 2008. This finding is likely a result of numerous small movements out of the main bog prior to leaving the population, which resulted in much of his home range occurring outside of traditional habitat. Discussion Bog Turtles in our study exhibited higher daily movement rates than turtles in other studies (Lovich et al. 1992, Morrow et al. 2001b). Turtles in the piedmont of North Carolina traveled an average of 2.1 m/d (males), and 1.1 m/d (females) (Lovich et al. 1992), while turtles in Maryland moved an average of 3.4 m/d and 3.1 m/d for males and females, respectively (Morrow et al. 2001b). Turtles in our population moved considerably farther, averaging 14.5 m/d and 13.0 m/d for males and females, respectively. Carter et al. (2000) reported similar rates of movement in southwestern Virginia, where average movements were 16 m/d for males and 17 m/d for females. Feaga (2010) reported much larger daily movement rates of 38.4–49.9 m/d, but their study also used multiple locations a day taken at short intervals. We located turtles at 1-d intervals, whereas other studies sampled at longer or irregular intervals and did not include the distance moved per day in their original study design (Carter et al. 2000, Lovich et al. 1992, Morrow et al. 2001b). It is difficult to compare the results of various studies because each one used a different method to assess Bog Turtle movement rate. However, all movement- rate calculations are subject to bias because movement is rarely linear and Table 2. Percent overlap of home range (ha) using 50% kernel density estimator (KDE), and 95% KDE of 5 Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle ) tracked in consecutive years in a southern Appalachian wetland from 2005 to 2009. % Overlap Turtle # Year 1 Year 2 50% KDE 95% KDE 0.6 2007 2008 59.30 60.34 0.7 2007 2008 50.80 37.23 0.9 2006 2007 3.56 55.22 0.9 2007 2008 19.47 68.97 0.9 2008 2009 0.85 49.34 1.0 2005 2006 44.41 63.49 1.0 2006 2007 52.41 50.43 1.0 2007 2008 46.80 39.52 1.1 2006 2007 5.30 32.94 1.1 2007 2008 5.56 4.43 Southeastern Naturalist 215 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 actual movement rates may be much higher than estimates reflect (Carter et al. 2000, Chase et al. 1989). Bog Turtles rely on wetland habitat; thus, differences in movement rates could be explained by the size of the wetland available in each study. The study by Lovich et al. (1992) took place in a 0.3-ha wetland, while the Morrow et al. (2001b) study took place on several wetlands smaller than 1 ha. The bog in our sampling area was just under 2 ha. Geographic, environmental, and habitat differences may also affect movement rates due to differences in weather, flora, and channelization (Carter et al. 2000, Feaga 2010). For example, aestivation or emigration may result in decreases or increases, respectively, in movement rates during periods of drought (Ernest and Barbour 1989, Feaga 2010). Therefore, short-term studies might not reveal accurate home-range sizes if conditions are abnormal during study years. The importance of channels for facilitating movement within the home range was demonstrated by the significantly higher movement rates of turtles in or near the channel than turtles on land. Pittman and Dorcas (2009) also found that although turtles preferred soft mud and standing water, they frequently traveled to stream habitat, even when water levels in the wetland were high. Feaga (2010) also found that large movements were more likely to occur when turtles were near a stream, although this was often a result of drought conditions causing turtles to move into favorable habitat. Consistent with the findings reported by others, turtles in our study did not experience different rates of movement based on gender (Carter et al. 2000, Chase et al. 1989, Feaga 2010, Morrow et al. 2001b). Similar movement rates between males and females is unexpected because the “reproductive strategies hypothesis” proposes that, to increase mating success, males tend to be more active and travel greater distances than females during the breeding season (Gibbons et al. 1990, Morreale et al. 1984). The need to travel long distances to find mates may be reduced by the considerable home-range overlap between individual turtles. This hypothesis also suggests that gravid females will travel larger distances to find suitable nesting areas; however, we documented no gravid turtles during the course of our study. Lovich et al. (1992) found that males moved almost twice as far as females during 1-d periods, which supports the reproductive strategies hypothesis. It is possible that the data from Lovich et al. (1992) are limited by an extremely small sample size (n = 5) and the unequal time interval between relocations. Bimodal activity in Bog Turtles has been reported in earlier studies (Ernst and Barbour 1989, Nemuras 1967). Patterns of bimodal activity show an increase in activity after emerging from hibernation in the spring and prior to entering the hibernacula in the fall, with depressed activity levels during summer when turtles often burrow in the mud or undergo aestivation to escape the hot, dry conditions. On the contrary, Morrow et al. (2001b) did not detect any significant signs of bimodal activity. Bog Turtles in our population experienced the opposite pattern of bimodal activity, with an increase of movement during the warm summer months. This activity pattern may be more common because Bog Turtles are thought to require higher temperatures to initiate activity than other turtle species (Ernst and Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 216 Barbour 1989). Geographic differences between studies, such as the high elevation of our study site—which may result in cooler summer temperatures—may explain differences in activity patterns between studies. Home-range size for adult Bog Turtles in our study was larger than those reported by most researchers. Other studies reported average home ranges of 0.03–0.18 ha (Carter et al. 1999, Chase et al. 1989, Morrow et al. 2001b, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). In our study, home-range size was variable between years, but our combined average over the course of the study was 0.79 ha using MCP and 1.10 ha using 95% KDE. Two studies reported larger home ranges than ours, one in Pennsylvania with an average home range of 1.33 ha for males and 1.26 ha for females (Ernst 1977), and one in southwestern Virginia with an average range of 4.7 ha for males and 3.3 ha for females (Feaga 2010); both used MCP for their calculations. Bog Turtles rely on wetland habitat and rarely leave it; thus, it is probable that like their movement rates, home-range size is affected by the size of the wetland itself, accounting for some of the variation between studies (Chase et al. 1989, Morrow et al. 2001b, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). The differences in home-range size between studies may also be affected by environmental conditions, e.g., a dry year vs. a wet year, presence or absence of a beaver dam and pond, quality of the habitat, geographical differences in habitat characteristics, and/or estimation technique (Carter 1999, Morrow et al. 2001b). Consistent with some other studies (Carter et al. 1999, Morrow et al. 2001b), we found no significant difference in home-range size between the sexes, while other studies detected a difference (Chase at al. 1989, Feaga 2010, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). The absence in our data of significant differences between male and female turtle movements and home ranges during the breeding season may be a result of overlapping home ranges. Bog Turtles experience considerable home-range overlap, and it is possible that it is not necessary for male turtles to travel large distances to encounter potential mates. The overlap of home ranges within and between sexes might also indicate a lack of territoriality. Morrow et al. (2001b) reported similar home-range sizes and considerable overlap within and between sexes. On the contrary, Chase et al. (1989) reported home-range overlap, but still found significant differences between home-range sizes of the sexes. Conflicting results on differences in home-range sizes between genders is common and may be influenced by the small sample sizes available within small populations. Home-range size and location of turtles monitored in multiple years was highly variable. Home-range size almost doubled between consecutive years for 1 turtle and stayed constant for another. The variable nature of home-range size in Bog Turtles may be indicative of changes in environmental conditions. Morrow et al. (2001b) noted a decrease in home-range size as a result of hotter and dryer conditions. Carter et al. (1999) detected no significant change of homerange size between years, but found a change in home-range locations. Changes in home-range location may be a response to temporal changes in wetland habitat, allowing turtles to follow favorable conditions and adapt to a changing environment (Carter et al. 1999). Southeastern Naturalist 217 L.M. Smith, and R.P. Cherry 2016 Vol. 15, No. 2 In our study, 1 adult turtle emigrated out of the population. Prior to this movement, he had a consistently small home range, less than 1.0 ha. In July 2008, the turtle spent 10 d about 100 m outside the wetland before encountering a large river and returning to the wetland. The next month he moved about 0.6 km to a new wetland where he remained for 2 wks before presumably moving further downstream and out of our detection range. Other studies have reported migration of adults (Carter et al. 2000, Morrow et al. 2001b, Pittman and Dorcas 2009). Most other turtles moved between neighboring wetlands, only to return to the original wetland at a later time (Carter et al. 2000, Morrow et al. 2001b). Emigration and migration usually occur when hatchlings leave the nesting area or depart from an unsuitable habitat (Lovich et al. 1992). Long-distance movements by adults in unaltered habitat indicate that there is some other cause that may result in longdistance movements (Carter et al. 2000). That these movements occur demonstrates the importance of maintaining suitable buffer areas and travel corridors for turtles (Morrow et al. 2001b). On a landscape with limited habitat destruction and fragmentation, turtles are able to move between populations in search of favorable conditions or mates. Overall, the known occurrence of large-scale movements in our population was low—we detected only 1 turtle moving to a different wetland in the 5-y project. However, we did not recapture several of the turtles in 2 or more years, and it is possible that they too may have left the wetland. Bog Turtles have small home-ranges and are capable of existing in small wetlands. The smallest home range in our population was 0.21 ha, indicating that management plans should incorporate surveys and protection of smaller wetlands that may be easily overlooked. Bog Turtle movement rates and home ranges in our study area were similar between sexes, seasons, and years. These findings indicate a regular, constant, and continuous use of bog habitat. Home-range locations shifted between years, possibly allowing turtles to follow ideal habitat conditions that may change with variation in weather or changes in floral composition over time. Buffer areas around the primary habitat should be protected to allow for this fluctuation. Although Bog Turtle home ranges and movements tend to be restricted to wetland habitat, the documented use of neighboring habitat and waterways to emigrate out of a population demonstrates the importance of maintaining the surrounding habitat to promote connectivity in the face of an often increasingly fragmented or degraded habitat. Acknowledgments We thank Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway for funding our work, and J. Beane, G. Graeter, D. Herman, E. Leone, B. Teague, T. Thorpe, B. Tyron, and L. Williams for their support and technical advice. We appreciate assistance in the field from S. Adair, L. Barnes, J. Barbee, D. Bauer, K. Bauer, S. Gamble, S. Chelf, K. Cherry-Leigh, C. Fisher, J. Gilliam, M. Hall, C. Henson, K. Lawn, K. McDonald, J. McMann, M. Mullen, D. O’Neill, H. Newton, A. Paoletta, C. Phillips, J. Pope, S. Price, A. Renfranz, R. Sturgill, C. Trivette, J. Weaver, K. White, and C. Williams. Southeastern Naturalist L.M. Smith, and R.P. 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