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Biology professor assesses chicken turtle populations in Oklahoma

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dr. Day Ligon, assistant professor of biology at Missouri State University, was awarded a grant of $43,940 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services via Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for assessing the extent and density of chicken turtle populations in southeastern Oklahoma.

Western chicken turtles are rare in southeastern Oklahoma and are listed as a species of great conservation concern.

“Chicken turtles generally have been little studied, and almost no information about the western subspecies’ ecology has ever been published,” said Ligon. “Our intention is to spend the next three years identifying and sampling suitable wetlands radiating out from a site that we have already identified that supports a viable Western chicken turtle population.”

A portion of the awarded money will be used for purchasing supplies and equipment, as well as paying for travel expenses. The bulk of the funds will be used to support graduate and undergraduate field research.

“The conservation status of the Western chicken turtle is undefined because so little is known about its abundance, population trajectories or basic ecology,” Ligon said. “The information that we gather will be instrumental in making informed conservation decisions on the species’ behalf.”

For more information, contact Ligon at (417) 836-5339.


About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The university’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

College of Natural and Applied Sciences
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences incorporates more than 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs along with one cooperative program offered through a partnership with Missouri S&T. The academic departments that make up the college include: biology; chemistry; computer science; engineering; geography, geology and planning; hospitality and restaurant administration; mathematics; and physics, astronomy and materials science. Students have the opportunity for intense hands-on research and internships through a number of outreach and research centers and work alongside faculty who are producing cutting-edge research in their fields.

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Media Contact

  • Dr. Day Ligon
  • (417) 836-5339


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