Because of the remarkable development of Florida during the past two decades it has become almost impossible to do field research that does not have direct conservation implications. As the influence of humans over natural ecosystems increases so does the need to understand and protect the natural systems essential for maintenance of the biodiversity of Florida (Delis et al. 1996). Vertebrate animals, especially amphibians and reptiles, are vulnerable to the direct and indirect influences of human development. While some are still relatively common in parts of the State, many species of amphibians and reptiles are in serious decline (Mushinsky et al. 1997). Several listed species, especially those with distributions limited to the central Lake Wales Ridge (McCoy et al. 1998), present a unique set of problems for conservation biologists to solve (McCoy and Mushinsky 1994). Along with my colleague, Dr. Earl McCoy, and a dedicated group of hard working graduate students, we have established a research program focused on contemporary ecological issues in Florida. More than just studying systems doomed to fragmentation, decay and further isolation, however, we have also initiated research to restore upland habitats after they have been strip-mined for phosphate (Mushinsky and McCoy 1996). Likewise, we are using our 200 hectare tract of land, the USF Ecological Research Area, as a testing grounds for management practices that support wildlife, especially fire management.
Translocation of the Gopher Tortoise: Difficulties Associated with Assessing Success (with Susannah C. Riedl and Earl D. McCoy), Applied Herpetology (2008)
Gopher tortoises on lands to be developed may be translocated as a conservation measure, sometimes...