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The status of the flattened musk turtle (Sternotherus depressus) in selected areas of the Bankhead National Forest and Smith Lake: preliminary results.

Previous studies on the population status of S. depressus indicated that its numbers were declining. It is currently listed as threatened under the endangered species act. After one season of trapping efforts in the Bankhead National Forest and surrounding areas in 2002, preliminary results indicate populations are doing well in some areas, but that dense populations are spotty in distribution. In this study, the number of turtles captured per trap hour in the site that has historically held the densest population of flattened musk turtles compares favorably with a 1997 study and may indicate that the population is increasing in that area, though not to levels found in the 1981 or 1983 studies. Preliminary results also indicate that at least some recruitment is occurring in the upper inundation zones of Smith Lake in the Brushy Creek and Sipsey Forks and that populations exist in isolated pockets and coves of the reservoir. In the 2003 season there will be extensive trapping in selected areas, and transmitters will be placed on gravid females to obtain information on nesting preferences and nest success. This research is made possible by the support of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Alabama Power, The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, and the Birmingham Audubon Society.

Sherry Holmes and Ken Marion, Dept of Biology, Univ. of Ala. at B'ham, Birmingham, AL 35294.
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Title Annotation:Biological Sciences
Author:Holmes, Sherry; Marion, Ken
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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