Human activities, including the harvesting of natural resources and land development, place substantial pressure on wildlife. The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a small, estuarine species of emydid turtle in decline and at risk due to a suite of human activities. Vehicle-induced mortality from increasing coastal traffic and bycatch mortality in crab pots have been recognized as 2 of the primary conservation concerns for terrapins. We used mark-recapture estimates of terrapin density and sex ratio from repeated seining samples of 29 randomly stratified selected tidal creeks to evaluate the current relationships between road and crabbing pressures and the abundance, sex ratio, and size distribution of terrapin populations along the Georgia coast. We obtained 2005 captures of 1,547 individual terrapins among 29 tidal creeks sampled. Population density estimates ranged from 0 to 1,040 terrapins/km among tidal creeks with a median density of 65 terrapins/km. Among all sites, terrapin density declined with increasing crabbing activity within the creek, but was not related to proximity to roads. Sex ratios did not vary significantly with crabbing activity or proximity to roads; however, we found a significantly larger proportion of smaller-sized terrapins in creeks with no crabbing activity. Although roads may have significant localized effects on terrapin populations, we found no measurable association between proximity to roads and current variation in terrapin density along the Georgia coast. However, we did find that terrapin density and the proportion of smaller sized individuals within the population were negatively associated with crabbing activities. Bycatch from commercial and recreational activities threaten many species. We add to a growing body of research showing crabbing activities are affecting diamondback terrapin populations across much of the species' range. States committed to the conservation of terrapins and coastal species should focus on reducing bycatch risk; for example by regulating soak times and locations, requiring the use of bycatch reduction devices, and removing abandoned or lost crab pots from coastal habitats.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 75 • No. 4