Faculty Mentor

Gareth Hopkins




There are three freshwater turtle species in the Willamette Valley: the native Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), the native Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), and the invasive Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). These focal species were the center of a trail-camera-based investigation on basking behavior at four locations within Minto Brown Park in Salem, centered around research on basking structure usage, distribution, and identification of temperature and weather patterns which could predict turtle presence. Understanding basking behavior and presence of all turtle species is pertinent to the persistence of the native species, which are in decline. Through analyzing over 15,000 camera images, we found species-specific preferences for basking structure type, location, temperature and weather, which will all provide critical information for future management of both native threatened, and invasive turtles in our region.






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