MS (Master of Science)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Joshua X. Samuels
Blaine W. Schubert, Chris C. Widga
Turtles are important components of ecosystems around the world, with diverse ecological niches and adaptations. However, there are few detailed studies of how turtle community structure reflects local environments. This project applied techniques of community structure analysis to sites across the United States to infer past ecosystem and environmental conditions of the early Pliocene Gray Fossil Site (GFS) in northeastern Tennessee based on the ancient turtle community. Results indicate extant turtle community structure closely reflects environmental conditions, and that ancient turtle communities can be used to infer climate and habitat conditions of past ecosystems. Application to the GFS turtle community shows similarity to modern communities of the southern Gulf Coast and subtropical southeastern United States. These findings are consistent with previous interpretations of the GFS environment as warmer and wetter than the southern Appalachian climate of today, and demonstrate the utility of fossil turtle assemblage data in determining past environmental conditions.
Thesis - embargo
Conley, Julian, "Community Structure Analysis of Turtles with Application to the Early Pliocene Gray Fossil Site" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4121. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4121
Copyright by the authors.