We estimated survivorship, recapture probabilities and recovery rates in a threatened population of Flattened Musk Turtles (Sternotherus depressus) through a disease outbreak in Alabama in 1985. We evaluated a set of models for the demographic effects of disease by analyzing recaptures and recoveries simultaneously. Multiple-model inference suggested survival was temporally dynamic, whereas recapture probability was sex- and age-specifc. Biweekly survivorship declined from 98-99% before to 82-88% during the outbreak. Live recapture was twice as likely for male turtles relative to juveniles or females, whereas dead recoveries varied only slightly by sex and age. Our results suggest modest reduction in survival over a relatively short time period may severely affect population status.
Additional publication details
Estimation of Flattened Musk Turtle (Sternotherus depressus) survival, recapture, and recovery rate during and after a disease outbreak