Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies


Coastal and Marine Systems Science

First Advisor

Kevin S. Godwin

Second Advisor

James O. Luken

Third Advisor

Scott L. Parker


Previous studies (Haxon 2000; Steen and Gibbs 2004; Marchand and Litvaitis 2004; Aresco 2005) have demonstrated that urbanization and development have disproportionally adverse affects on female turtles. In order to test this paradigm I caught 301 turtles (primarily Trachemys scripta scripta) in ten ponds (5 impacted and 5 unimpacted) across coastal South Carolina. Not only do coastal South Carolina turtles not follow the same male biased pattern of many other studies, there was an overall female bias (154:95). Turtle metrics were between the types of sites existed as well, indicating larger/older population of turtles in unimpacted sites. Water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature) were examined. The unimpacted sites exhibited more conductive parameters for the majority of biota. Diversity was significantly larger in unimpacted sites as well. It appears that the turtle populations (largely Trachemys scripta) examined have a high tolerance for human impact (both with regards to water quality and direct mortality) based on their high abundance in impacted areas. They may be exception to the male biased population paradigm exhibited by the majority of other turtles in previous studies.