Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2017


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2017


Copyright © 2017 Charrissa Zuerlein


Changes in the population structure, specifically the age, size and sex composition, of Western painted turtles can be studied to gain insight into the changes that will occur in closely related endangered species. As species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), the sex ratios of new clutches are affected by climate, and this could cause problems for the species as climate changes occur. This study focuses on fluctuations in the population structure of a single population located near Cedar Point Biological Station in Ogallala, Nebraska. Each summer from 2005-2016 turtles were caught using floating basking traps and hoop nets. Results show evidence of changes in the sex ratio occurring after a severe drought. Variation in the size structure of the population suggests an influence from movement behaviors and environmental conditions. Results from this population may be informative to how species are affected by changes in climate.