Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)


Environmental Science and Policy


Randy Chambers

Committee Members

Donna Bilkovic

Nicholas Balascio


Diamondback terrapins face a variety of ecological and human pressures. As an estuarine species reliant on the availability of optimal nesting sites, the effects of climate change and sea level rise are important to consider when determining appropriate conservation methods for terrapins. My research focuses on the potential impacts of sea level rise on diamondback terrapin nesting locations along tidal shorelines in Virginia. Utilizing GIS and maximum entropy modeling (MaxEnt), I have edited and analyzed spatial data to determine optimal nesting habitats and how these locations will change as rising sea level forces land use shifts. Through my analysis, I determined that essential nesting habitat factors include: distance to beaches, distance to core habitat (the marsh habitat terrapins occupy when not nesting), salinity, and placement of roads. Using this information, I have created a model displaying the current distribution of terrapin nesting habitat throughout Virginia. My results demonstrate how future terrapin nesting habitat will likely decrease across Virginia shoreline. With this information, conservation efforts can be focused on the current terrapin nesting habitat most threatened by rising waters.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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