Habitat restoration: Enhancing resilience to climate change

In an era of unprecedented change, habitat restoration techniques can be used to enhance habitat resilience to climate change. Weather conditions and lack of organic soil are current limitations to habitat restoration and creation in rock barrens landscapes. Through collaborative research, I aim to create innovative, interdisciplinary restoration approaches to restore habitat conditions to ensure reptile population persistence.

Reproductive (e.g., nesting) and overwintering habitat can be negatively impacted by wildfire, development, and climate change. Currently, my research involves the design and assessment of novel approaches for constructing freshwater turtle nesting habitat and reptile overwintering habitat. These approaches will have climate change adaptive management research opportunities for work in similar landscapes.

To assess design effectiveness, I use an interdisciplinary approach to monitor habitat physical function (e.g., temperature, moisture, vegetation, water table dynamics) and ecological success (e.g., use by and abundance/survival of individuals).

I have also worked on long-term projects aimed to restore connectivity in aquatic ecosystems severed by roads.

Selected publications:

Markle, C.E., Moore, P.A., & J.M. Waddington. 2020. Primary drivers of reptile overwintering habitat suitability: Integrating wetland ecohydrology and spatial complexity. BioScience. doi:10.1093.biosci/biaa059.

Hudson, D., Markle, C.E., Harris, L.I., & J.M. Waddington. 2020. Ecohydrological controls on lichen and moss CO2 exchange in rock barrens turtle nesting habitat. Ecohydrology. doi: 10.1002/eco/2255.

Wilkinson, S., Tekatch, A., Markle, C.E., Moore, P.A., & J.M. Waddington. 2020. Shallow peat is most vulnerable to high peat burn severity during wildfire. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aba7e8.

Piczak, M.L., Markle, C.E., & P. Chow-Fraser. 2019. Decades of road mortality cause severe decline in a common snapping turtle population. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 18(2):231–240.

Markle, C.E., Gillingwater, S.D., Levick, R., & P. Chow-Fraser. 2017. The true cost of partial fencing: Evaluating strategies to reduce reptile road mortality. Wildlife Society Bulletin 41(2):342–350.

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