Biology professor assesses chicken turtle populations in Oklahoma
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.
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