Modern Toolbox to address a decades-old problem in the conservation of freshwater turtles: Blanding’s turtles as a case study

Adderley-Heron, K., Hickey, B., and Chow-Fraser, P.
IN: Wildlife Conservation & Management in the 21st Century--Issues, Solutions and New Concepts
2024, Alpha Wildlife Publications, p. 229-251


Traditional monitoring methods to study the movement patterns and habitat use of freshwater turtles include visual encounter surveys and radio telemetry. Both approaches are labour-intensive and time-consuming, and studying behaviours such as nesting attempts is challenging due to infrequent direct observation, requiring inference from limited data. In this chapter, we introduce several emerging approaches that address some limitations of traditional techniques. These include using 1) multi-sensor biologgers to explore movement and behaviour, 2) environmental DNA to determine occupancy, and 3) pattern recognition software to enhance traditional individual identification methods. We summarize existing traditional approaches, show the advantages and disadvantages of these new tools, and illustrate how they support research to protect Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Ontario, Canada.