Overland movement is an important aspect of freshwater turtle ecology. Turtles make overland excursions searching for mates, to find new aquatic habitats, in response to drought, or during nesting. Here, we tested how environmental factors may influence the excursion events of adult Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). We found that 85% of turtles made overland movements at least once, which is higher than previously reported, and some turtles made multiple movements (2–6) during a single season. Rain and drought events were significant predictors of overland movements. While sex did not appear to be a significant factor, there was an indication that movement may depend on seasonal temperatures. In addition, we showed that turtles immigrated to depopulated ponds in a short period of time after a simulated harvest event. However, after a second harvest simulation, our experimental pond was not repopulated to its original abundance. Our results call for caution when implementing spatially controlled harvest regimes. Ponds depleted by harvesting might not be repopulated by immigrating turtles if source population sizes also decrease due to the regular dispersal to sink populations and subsequently slows overall reproduction rates.
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