Reduced predation on roadside nests could compensate for additional road mortality in road-adjacent painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) populations.

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Murphy, Rowan Elizabeth




Turtles are killed on roads, yet there is little evidence of negative road effects on abundances. We hypothesized that reduced predation of roadside nests could compensate for adult road-kill. To test this, we quantified the relative differences in predation of artificial painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) nests near and far from roads, in a field experiment controlling for potentially confounding differences between sites. We then estimated how much adult road-kill could be compensated for by an increase in roadside nest success using Population Viability Analysis (PVA). Linearly arranged roadside nests had a 26% higher survival rate than non-road nests in a "natural" (clumped) configuration. This lead to an estimate that 3-6% annual adult road kill can be compensated for by the lower nest predation. This suggests that compensation for adult road kill via predation release is a plausible explanation for the lack of road effects on turtle abundances.






Carleton University

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