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Wetlands

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 147–157 | Cite as

Riparian Habitat Dissimilarities in Restored and Reference Streams are Associated with Differences in Turtle Communities in the Southeastern Piedmont

  • Maura Patricia DudleyEmail author
  • Mengchi Ho
  • Curtis J. Richardson
Original Research

Abstract

Few studies have assessed whether restored streams and riparian floodplains support reference communities of certain groups of freshwater organisms, such as turtles. This exploratory study compared turtle assemblages in six reference and six restored streams in the North Carolina Piedmont, which were assessed using standard trapping practices with baited hoop nets. We also quantified turtle-relevant habitat characteristics (structure, water quality, vegetation) through reach-scale surveys to assess potential differences in turtle composition. Turtle abundance at restored sites was more than twice that of references sites and trends existed in the distribution of turtle species, but neither abundance nor composition was found to be statistically different. Habitat characteristics that affect turtle communities were not equivalent between sites, with reference streams having higher canopy cover, and lower total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen and total suspended solids than restored streams. Mantel’s test and non-metric multidimensional scaling plots indicated that turtle composition was significantly correlated with habitat and vegetation, and that turtle communities were generally separated between restored and reference streams. These findings suggest a pattern that restored streams with riparian wetlands may provide more suitable habitat than reference streams for most southeastern Piedmont turtle species, but further studies are required to fully examine these patterns.

Keywords

Restoration Turtle Stream Riparian Ecosystem 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Mary Patricia Nowalk, Dean Urban, Wes Willis, Jean Still, Joshua Unghire, and Christopher Dudley. Funding provided by the Duke Wetland Center Endowment and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Supplementary material

13157_2014_603_MOESM1_ESM.doc (165 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 165 kb)

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maura Patricia Dudley
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mengchi Ho
    • 1
  • Curtis J. Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke University Wetland CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Odum School of EcologyThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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