27. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Garter Snake Occurrence on the Granville Land Lab

Jack Marchetti Denison University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Geoff Smith Denison University
Ecological restoration is an important tool used to reclaim habitats disrupted by anthropogenic actions (e.g. conversion to agricultural land), and to increase biodiversity in an area. The Granville Schools Land Lab in central Ohio is a recent restoration project converting an agricultural field into a mosaic of natural habitats (e.g., prairie, wetlands). We studied the recolonization of the Granville Schools Land Lab by the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). Snakes were caught from 2016 to 2018 using a grid of cover boards on the Land Lab allowing us to determine their spatial and temporal distribution. Microhabitat data surrounding each cover board was collected in the summer of 2018. Snake captures were highest in 2018, and the average number of captures per month reached a maximum between June and August of each year. Logistic regressions showed a significant relationship between snake absence and Russian Thistle and number of trees within a 10m radius, which are associated with repeatedly mowed areas. In these areas, vegetation height is lower than adjacent habitats, offering less cover. No significant relationship was found between snake presence and the distance to trails, roads, or water. These results indicate that the species of plant are of lesser importance to T. sirtalis than the management techniques used to maintain the habitat (e.g., mowing, burning). Future restoration projects should consider the effects of land management tools on the recolonization of an area.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library 3rd Floor