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Open AccessArticle

A Long-Term Demographic Analysis of Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) in Illinois Using Matrix Models

1
Division of Natural Heritage, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Goreville, IL 62939, USA
2
Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
3
Forest Preserve District of Will County, Joliet, IL 60433, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120226
Received: 14 October 2019 / Revised: 14 November 2019 / Accepted: 23 November 2019 / Published: 26 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Biology and Conservation of Turtles)
Matrix models and perturbation analyses provide a useful framework for evaluating demographic vital rates crucial to maintaining population growth. Determining which vital rates most influence population growth is necessary for effective management of long-lived organisms facing population declines. In Illinois, the state-endangered Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) occurs in two distinct populations, and management can benefit from an understanding of its demographic behavior. We conducted a mark–recapture study on both populations in 2015 and 2016 and used historical mark–recapture data from 1988 to 2010 to determine female age-specific survival and fecundity rates. Survival increased significantly with age, and age-specific reproductive output and fecundity were >1.0. However, both populations exhibited net reproductive rates below replacement levels, and one population had a negative growth rate. Summed elasticities for all adult age classes indicate adult survival has the highest proportional impact on population growth. We found evidence of demographic divergence between the two populations, and thus the prioritization of vital rates varied somewhat between sites, with a relatively higher emphasis on juvenile and young adult survival for one population. We recommend conservation actions such as habitat management and predator control, which will have positive impacts across stage classes.
Keywords: Clemmys guttata; conservation; demography; ecology; herpetology; matrix; population; spotted turtle Clemmys guttata; conservation; demography; ecology; herpetology; matrix; population; spotted turtle
MDPI and ACS Style

Feng, C.Y.; Ross, J.P.; Mauger, D.; Dreslik, M.J. A Long-Term Demographic Analysis of Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) in Illinois Using Matrix Models. Diversity 2019, 11, 226.

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