Conservation Biology Major
Physical and Biological Sciences Category
Hello, my name is Kelsea Tyson. I am a Conservation/Wildlife biology major here at MSSU, and I am in my third year of schooling. I am also Vice President of the Wildlife Society, as well as a tutor of biology for the Student Success Center. I am a second-year member of the Reptile Physiology Lab on campus, caring for Borneo Pythons, Red Tail Boas, and Kingsnakes.
With amphibian and reptile population declines and extinctions increasing, continued ecological surveying is needed to detect any potential changes in populations, especially near geopolitical boundaries. From May 20th to August 8th, 2020, a survey of Kellogg Lake (Carthage, MO) was conducted to catalog species richness and abundance. Individuals caught had morphological measurements taken and reptiles were marked for potential recapture. Individuals observed but not captured were also noted. In total, species found included Anaxyrus americanus, Lithobates catesbeianus, L. sphenocephalus, Apalone spinifera, Chelydra serpentina, Nerodia erythrogaster, N. rhombifer, N. sipedon, Regina grahamii, Sternotherus odoratus, Storeria dekayi, and Trachemys scripta. Several of these species had not been reported in Jasper County for decades. In three species (S. odoratus, T. scripta, and R. grahamii), enough information was available to describe the sex ratios and test for sexual dimorphism. For both S. odoratus and T. scripta, we detected no sexual dimorphism. For S. odoratus and R. grahamii, the populations were significantly female skewed in their sex ratios and female R. grahamii were significantly larger than males. Lastly, using historical records, neighboring Cherokee County, KS and Jasper County, MO were compared to detect potential differences in record abundance across state lines. The oldest documented records for herpetofaunal species between the two counties did not differ. However, Cherokee County has significantly more recent species detections and in significantly greater numbers than Jasper County. Future work should continue to consider the implications of geopolitical boundaries when monitoring populations.