Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene bauri)
The 18 to 59 cm sea level rise projected to occur over the coming century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to have major effects on the coastal habitats of Florida, altering habitat availability, community structure, and species diversity. The average expected sea level rise would result in an 80% loss of dry land in the Ten Thousand Islands region, threatening wildlife throughout this unusual system. In 2006, we began a long-term study of Florida box turtles (Terrapene bauri) in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Florida to study the species on unique shellworks islands built by the Calusa about 2000 years ago. Our work in this unusual island system can also help us to understand the effects of invasive species (like Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolia) on turtles, as well as metapopulation dynamics of long-lived species and can also shed light on the effects of fragmenting mainland habitat until the remaining patches are effectively islands.
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