Abstract

In order to protect threatened and endangered species, their habitat needs to be adequately documented and assessed for conservation planning. The utilization of mapping programs such as ArcGIS can help researchers in determining the most optimal sites for a particular species in a given area. This research revises a previous habitat suitability model by Correa-Berger (2007) for the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) in nine counties of upstate New York. Using the same initial parameters for the creation of the seed sites and habitat requirements for spotted turtles that Correa-Berger used in his 2007 analysis, the model utilized updated Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) data, added a stream connectivity parameter, and added a calcium carbonate soil parameter in order to improve the model. The initial updated model did not fit well with the historical spotted turtle sightings from the NYSDEC. A second model was created using a simplified seed site methodology, an adjusted road width parameter, and eliminated the use of the DEC classified wetlands. The revised model captured 16 out of 33 turtle sightings within what was considered optimal sites. While the second model was more successful matching the historical spotted turtle sightings compared to the first model, analysis of model misses suggest the model could potentially be improved with the use of a locally created LULC classification using remote sensing techniques, expanding the stream connectivity parameters to include stream health, and using additional soil parameters.

Publication Date

1-20-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)

Advisor

Karl Korfmacher

Advisor/Committee Member

Larry Buckley

Advisor/Committee Member

Elizabeth Hane

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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