Nesting Habitat Creation Enhances Recruitment in a Predator-Free Environment: Malaclemys Nesting at the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project

  • Published source details Roosenburg W.M., Spontak D.M., Sullivan S.P., Matthews E.L., Heckman M.L., Trimbath R.J., Dunn R.P., Dustman E.A., Smith L. & Graham L.J. (2014) Nesting Habitat Creation Enhances Recruitment in a Predator-Free Environment: Malaclemys Nesting at the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project. Restoration Ecology, 22, 815-823.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore island ecosystems

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Restore island ecosystems

    A replicated study in 2002–2011 in beaches on Poplar Island, Maryland, USA (Roosenburg et al. 2014) found that during the island rebuilding process, diamondback terrapins Malaclemys terrapin continued to nest on the island. Two years after island rebuilding began, 68 nests were laid on the island compared to 211 nests laid 11 years after rebuilding began. The highest number observed (282 nests) were laid five years after rebuilding began. Nest survival rates ranged from 59–85% over the period of 3–11 years after rebuilding began. Poplar Island was rebuilt from three 4 ha remnants starting in 2000 using the footprint of the island from 1850 (450 ha). A perimeter dyke was constructed in 2002 and the interior began to be filled with stone and dredged sand (expected completion in 2027). Nesting areas were monitored daily, and nests marked with flagging and covered with hardware cloth (1.25 cm2 mesh) to prevent bird predation. After 45–50 days, the hardware cloth was removed, and a metal flashing ring buried 10 cm around nests to capture hatchlings. 

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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