1 October 2013 Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) Wetland Habitat:an Emphasis on Soil Properties
Jeffrey B. Feaga, James A. Burger, Carola A. Haas
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Bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) access saturated wetland soils and move through them to thermoregulate, find cover, and hibernate. Variability in the physical properties of the soil that affects suitability for turtle use is little understood. We identified dominant soil series and measured soil organic carbon (SOC) content and particle size in the top 18 cm of surface soils from Southwestern Virginia wetlands frequently used by bog turtles and similar wetlands not known to be used. A static cone penetrometer was used to evaluate soil strength in specific locations where bog turtles were found and adjacent random areas. Soils were poorly developed alluvium with aquic soil regimes. Levels of SOC were greater in locations with more continuous surface saturation and averaged 10% in the wettest locations. Proportions of sand, silt, and clay in wetlands were consistent with loam and silt loam textures. Levels of SOC and dominant particle sizes were not different in similarly saturated areas of wetlands that were frequently used or not known to be used by bog turtles. However, some wetlands not known to be used completely lacked areas that were always saturated. Based on penetrometer data, bog turtle use was centered on low strength soils. The physical qualities of surface soils in bog turtle wetlands result from the depositional environment and hydrology. The soil information derived from this study may assist biologists to determine whether wetlands are used by bog turtles, and also establishes reference soil conditions for use during wetland restoration projects that occur within the geographic range of the bog turtle.

Jeffrey B. Feaga, James A. Burger, and Carola A. Haas "Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) Wetland Habitat:an Emphasis on Soil Properties," Natural Areas Journal 33(4), 404-412, (1 October 2013). https://doi.org/10.3375/043.033.0403
Published: 1 October 2013
hydric soil
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