Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Department

Biology

Degree Granting Department

Integrative Biology

Major Professor

Henry Mushinsky, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Earl McCoy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Earl McCoy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gordon Fox, Ph.D.

Keywords

Plestiodon, reynoldsii, sand, skink, success, translocation

Abstract

The translocation of organisms is becoming a frequently used tool in conservation biology. There are, however, a disproportionate number of unsuccessful attempts translocating populations of herpetofauna. Logistical and temporal limits of monitoring, combined with ambiguous metrics concerning "success," have led to few advances regarding reptile translocations. Successfully established and persistent populations are those in which both the founding population and subsequent generations show consistent or positive levels of survival and reproduction. A small population of the threatened Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi) was translocated in 2007. Data collected from 2007 to 2009 confirmed survival and reproduction among the founding individuals, but the sampling did not include a long enough period to allow for the evaluation of the survival and reproduction of individuals born on the site. In this study, individuals were collected during two separate sampling events, one during the third spring and one during the sixth spring after the translocation occurred. Survival estimates, reproduction, population size and generation structure were calculated by combining and analyzing data from all years post-translocation. The numbers of both total and new individuals captured in the sixth year exceeded captures from every prior sampling event since monitoring began in 2008. Founding individuals represented only 14% of the total individuals captured, while the number of individuals born on site continued to increase. The proportion of recruits and increased number of hatchlings despite the loss of founders shows that the filial generations are producing offspring. The methods utilized in assessing this translocation effort will further the understanding of the population dynamics of the Florida Sand Skink and allow for more informed decisions in future management studies of this threatened species.

Share

COinS