Term of Award

Fall 2005

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

David C. Rostal

Committee Member 1

Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

Susan Langley

Abstract

The relationship among female gopher tortoise home range, size, reproduction, habitat characteristics and season were studied for a two-year period (May 2002-May 2004) on Fort Stewart Army Reserve (FSAR) in southeast Georgia. Tortoises were studied in four sectors or regions on Ft. Stewart that contain the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem. Vegetation characteristics were consistent between the different areas that tortoises inhabited. Soil types were similar between areas and consisted of Blanton, Bonifay, Fuquay, Albany Sand, Chipley, Echaw, Centenary, Stilson and Tifton soil types. Vegetation, temperature, and rainfall data were collected and compared with female home range. Reproductive data were collected for the same females for three consecutive reproductive seasons (n=35). Yearly variation in reproductive output was observed within females but was not correlated with habitat characteristics or home range. Rainfall and temperature were monitored with a negative relationship observed between rainfall and reproduction. Female size was not correlated with home range. Home range was also not correlated with clutch size or habitat characteristics measured. Cumulative home range did tend to increase with study duration (one year vs. two-year).

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