New gopher tortoise research at the Wade Tract Preserve

Tom Radzio, a graduate student in Dr. Michael O’Connor’s lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is conducting research into the physiological and conservation ecology of young Gopher Tortoises at the Wade Tract. The work focuses on determining how environmental characteristics influence behavior, growth, and survivoral in juvenile and sub-adult tortoises.

Tom Radzio at the Wade Tract Preserve

This summer, 10 small, immature tortoises and 10 adult females will be outfitted with radio transmitters and temperature recorders. Video recording devices set near burrows will monitor the activities of two immature and two adult tortoises per day in order to compare basking, foraging, and anti-predator behavior between cohorts. Future work may determine how forest canopy density influences individual and population growth rates or how forage quality might influence feeding time and associated predation risk in young tortoises.

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