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Brittany Laurenzo
Gopher Tortoise Habitat
An experiment was performed involving Gopher tortoises and determining whether tortoises are only found in abundant non-woody vegetation. This experiment was tested to see if there was validity to the statement. Gopher tortoises can be found in the Southeastern United States and prefer areas with abundant non-woody plants. These plants are what the tortoises eat so naturally there burrows can be found in areas with abundant food. The prediction was that Tortoises require non-woody plants as food; therefore tortoises will locate their burrows in areas with abundant food. The results of the experiment seemed to agree with the hypothesis. The average showed that 77.5% of tortoises in an occupied area contained non woody vegetation compared to the 22.5% of woody vegetation.

When it comes to tortoises there are many issues when it comes to a tortoise’s habitat and the decline of a species. Many factors such as environmental pollution, global climate change, introduced invasive species, disease, and unsustainable harvesting contribute to these declines. As with amphibians, habitat degradation is the primary cause of reptile declines. There has not been much research performed when it comes to Gopher tortoises. The objective of this study was to confirm that where you can abundantly find the most Gopher tortoises is in abundant non-woody vegetation. Similar research shows that habitat use within gopher tortoises' home ranges was generally in proportion to the amounts of habitat available, except that gopher tortoises used swales and disturbed areas (e.g., grassy, mowed road shoulders, pastures, citrus groves, and firebreaks) less than expected based on availability.

For this experiment the study was done at the Preserve facility at Florida Atlantic University. Once in the preserve we worked in groups of three to five students. To perform the following experiment we selected PVC square in two different areas. A part of...
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