Study

Not just any old pile of dirt: Evaluating the use of artificial nesting mounds as conservation tools for freshwater turtles

  • Published source details Paterson J.E., Steinberg B.D. & Litzgus J.D. (2013) Not just any old pile of dirt: Evaluating the use of artificial nesting mounds as conservation tools for freshwater turtles. Oryx, 47, 607-615.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Relocate nests/eggs to a nearby natural setting (not including hatcheries): Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Create artificial nests or nesting sites

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Relocate nests/eggs to a nearby natural setting (not including hatcheries): Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated, controlled study in 2009–2010 in a mosaic of wetlands, rivers and lakes in Ontario, Canada (Paterson et al. 2013) found that relocating painted turtle Chrysemys picta and snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina eggs to artificial mounds resulted in higher hatching success than for eggs left in natural nests. Eggs transplanted to artificial nests had higher hatching success than those left in natural nests for nine painted turtle nests (artificial: 98%; natural 71%) and 12 snapping turtle nests (artificial: 88%; natural 56%). Four artificial nesting mounds (60% gravel and 40% sand) 6m diameter and 0.5 high were installed in April 2009 on top of a layer of geotextile cloth. Each mound was within 100 m of water, 50 m of a known nesting site and sited to prevent nesting turtles from having to cross a road. Nests were excavated and split evenly between the closest artificial mound and the original nest. Hatching events were monitored from August, and nests were excavated in October to assess hatching success.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

  2. Create artificial nests or nesting sites

    A replicated, controlled study in 2009–2010 in a mosaic of wetlands, rivers and lakes in Ontario, Canada (Paterson et al. 2013) found that freshwater turtle species used artificial nest mounds more than expected, and eggs in artificial mounds had higher hatching success than eggs left in natural nests. Turtles used artificial nests more than expected by chance (artificial mounds constituted 2% of nesting habitat but hosted 4% of nests). Of the four turtles that used the artificial mounds (1 painted turtle Chrysemys picta, 1 snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina, 2 Blanding's turtle Emydoidea blandingii), all had 100% hatching success. Eggs transplanted to artificial nests had higher hatching success than those left in natural nests for nine painted turtle nests (artificial: 98%; natural 71%) and 12 snapping turtle nests (artificial: 88%; natural 56%). Four artificial nesting mounds (60% gravel and 40% sand) 6 m diameter and 0.5 high were installed in April 2009 on top of a layer of geotextile cloth. Each mound was within 100 m of water, 50 m of a known nesting site and sited to prevent nesting turtles from having to cross a road. All natural, artificial and potential nesting mounds within 1 km of each artificial mound were monitored nightly from May-June 2009–2010. For the transplant experiment, nests were excavated and split evenly between the closest artificial mound and the original nest. Hatching events were monitored from August, and nests were excavated in October to assess hatching success.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust