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FGCU professor to speak on gopher tortoise research project at Friends of Wildlife meeting

By Staff | Apr 27, 2015

Dr. John Herman, a biology faculty member at Florida Gulf Coast University, will speak at the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife meeting on Tuesday, May 12, at 7 p.m., at the Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral

Using wildlife cameras and radio telemetry, Dr. Herman and his undergraduate students “captured” some amazing behaviors and surprising visitors to gopher tortoise systems over the course of the study as well as some serious conservation threats that come with urban ecosystems.

Do gopher tortoises and burrowing owls ever share the same home? These and other questions from the audience will be answered.

The status of the state threatened gopher tortoise as a keystone species is well documented with over 300 species utilizing their burrows. However, little attention has been given to tortoise populations in urban environments, let alone the urban commensals (an organism benefiting from another) that might be utilizing their burrows. The burrows of burrowing owls, a state species of special concern, were also studied at these same urban sites.

Several students participating in this original research are expected to be present. Research on wildlife in urban landscapes is not common, making this first-time preliminary report of special significance. A grant from the Friends of Wildlife purchased the cameras and telemetry devices.

The public is invited to attend. There is no charge.

More information about the Friends of Wildlife is available at the web site: www.ccfriendsofwildlife.org