Committee Chair

Wilson, Thomas P.

Committee Member

Aborn, David A.; Reynolds, Bradley R.


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The landscape throughout the range of the Eastern Box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) has been altered significantly since the late 1880s by habitat fragmentation. In this study, the spatial ecology and seasonal movement patterns of the Eastern Box turtle in contrasting habitat types are investigated. Eastern Box turtles had home ranges that averaged (mean = 3.77 ± 2.82 ha, minimum convex polygon) in size among individuals. There was no significant difference between mean annual home range size and movement patterns between males and females; however, home range size for male turtles was larger during the summer versus spring activity season (P = 0.02). At the landscape level, turtles used eastern deciduous forest and successional habitats and they selected sites with ample ground and canopy cover. These findings can be used to better conserve the habitats and populations of the Eastern Box turtle.


I am extremely grateful to every individual that helped me with data collection and data analysis. I would like to thank Dr. Thomas Wilson for his support and endless amount of patience throughout this experience. Thank you for believing in my ability to complete this project. I also would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Brad Reynolds and Dr. David Aborn. I cannot thank enough those who spent countless hours in the hot, summer sun helping me collect data, including Paul-Erik Bakland, Justin Walley, Zach Bible, and especially Jeremy Hooper. Each of you helped save this project when I became ill and could not be in the field. I am forever in your debt. I would like to thank my mother, Connie Hixson, for her encouragement and support throughout my graduate career. I thank the Tennessee Herpetological Society and Dr. Thomas Wilson for funding this research. All research was conducted in accordance with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency permit #3082, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC 13-04). Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Kari Dillard, for always supporting me and never once complaining when I was away from home and collecting field data.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Box turtle; Home range (Animal geography)


Home range; Habitat use; Movement patterns; Box turtle

Document Type

Masters theses




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