SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

Aaron Krochmal

Behavioral, Ecological and Evolutionary Perspectives on Habitat-Seeking Behavior in Aquatic Turtles
Aquatic turtles leave the water and traverse terrestrial habitats during oviposition and nesting, or when seeking out new aquatic habitats. My lab investigates the onset, timing duration and orientation of these overland movements at both pure (i.e. basic biology and natural history) and applied (i.e. conservation) levels. We work within a unique system of vernal drawdowns - where lakes are drained in the summer as part of waterfowl management - allowing us to know the exact moment when turtles are forced to take to land. Thus, we have the opportunity to study the overland movements of aquatic turtles under quasi-natural conditions and in real time. We combine behavioral, ecological, genetic and neurological techniques to investigate these movements at the proximate and ultimate level. Current projects focus on, genetic and familial factors that influence movement patterns and land use, how and when turtles learn the surrounding upland habitat, metabolic consequences of long-distance terrestrial movements, and the behavioral and neurological correlates terrestrial movements.