Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Mary Harner

Committee Members

Paul Burger, Dawn Simon


Blanding's turtle;Sandhills Region (Neb.);


In all states and provinces in which they reside, Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) are listed as a species of conservation concern. In other parts of their range, Blanding’s Turtle populations have experienced declines and are threatened by habitat fragmentation and degradation of wetlands. Nebraska is the only state that considers the species to be secure. The largest known population of Blanding’s Turtles was recorded in the Sandhills of Nebraska. The Sandhills represent both the largest sand dune complex in the northern hemisphere and the largest intact temperate grassland ecosystem remaining in the world. These features likely attribute to the success of this species in the state. The Sandhills are one of the last strongholds for Blanding’s Turtles, and few studies have focused on the species in this region. Our study builds upon this knowledge and serves as an important benchmark for the status of Blanding’s Turtles in the Sandhills. In Chapter 1, we discuss demographic attributes, trapping results, space use, and other natural history of a population of Blanding’s Turtles at the westernmost edge of the species’ range. We appear to be the first to report relative abundance and locations of overwintering sites of Blanding’s Turtles in Nebraska. Chapter 2 highlights other writings about Blanding’s Turtles that were completed during my graduate study. Results of this study can be used to align land management practices with Blanding’s Turtle conservation strategies.

Included in

Biology Commons



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