Scientific Colloquium
May 31, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
  Building 34, Room W150 - PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION DUE TO RENOVATION OF BUILDING 3 AUDITORIUM and unavailability of Building 8.

"The Timber Rattlesnake, a 44-yr Study and an Overview"  

The Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, was studied over a 44-yr period with over 17,000 observations made. To gain baseline data on growth, reproductive, and survival rates mark-recapture studies on selected sites in the Blue Ridge of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and on the High Allegheny Plateau of West Virginia were done from 1973-2000. Monitoring has continued into 2017. Eighteen sites are monitored on a regular basis of 1-4 visits per year. A similar number are monitored less than annually. An additional 300 plus sites are checked as time permits. The Timber Rattlesnake is an important element of the Eastern North American Deciduous Biome. They are among the major predators on the small rodents which are the vectors for Lyme Disease. Population sizes of the Timber Rattlesnake have increased in some areas and decreased in others. Decreases have occurred where residential development has encroached. A study site on the High Allegheny Plateau that supported a large population was severely impacted by a wind-farm. Populations in Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National have remained relatively stable. Some Maryland and most Pennsylvania populations have increased due to legal protection. Some populations, primarily outside of my main study areas, have apparently died out over the past half century due to encroachment, road traffic, snake hunting, and shading over due to forest succession. Long-term trends are difficult to predict due to uncertainty regarding local details of climate change and human population trends.

About the Speaker:

William Martin holds a B. S. in Geography, University of South Florida 1968. He has worked as: Surveyor, U. S. Geological Survey and Southwest Florida Water Management District. Park Ranger, Shenandoah National Park. Park Naturalist, Blue Ridge Parkway. Biologist, Maryland Dept. Natural Resources. He has authored scientific papers and book chapters on the Timber Rattlesnake and the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. He is the co-editor and lead author (over 50 co-authors) of The Timber Rattlesnake Conservation Action Plan (IN PRESS - Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation). His current position is President of Catoctin Land Trust, Frederick, Maryland.

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