Dr. John Roe has mentored numerous students in box turtle (Terrapene carolina) research. A paper based on this research was just published in the Journal of Thermal Biology. Moreover, two Biology alumni, Kristoffer Wild and Carlisha Hall, are co-authors on the paper.
Above: Dr. John Roe, Kristoffer Wild, and Carlisha Hall
In their paper, "Thermal biology of eastern box turtles in a longleaf pine system managed with prescribed fire," they describe laboratory studies in which they measured temperature preferences of box turtles, and field studies in which they monitored ambient surface temperatures. Temperature data loggers attached to radiotracked box turtles enabled them to monitor turtle body temperatures and microhabitat use in the field. To compare microhabitat choices in response to environmental temperatures, they compared box turtles in fire-managed Weymouth Woods State Park with box turtles in unburned forests of Lumber River State Park. Environmental temperatures in the fire-managed system were more variable and warmer (including lethal temperatures) than temperatures in the unburned system, but microhabitat choices did not suggest strong seasonal responses to the more variable thermal conditions in the fire-managed system. Their study is the first to document the species' thermal preferences in response to fire.
Kristoffer Wild ('13) and Carlisha Hall ('16) were RISE Fellows while at UNC Pembroke. After graduation, Kristoffer Wild entered the graduate program at Austin Peay State University, where he later earned a M.S. degree in Biology. His research focused on the effects of prescribed fires on eastern fence lizards. He is currently working as a teacher in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduation, Carlisha Hall joined the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, as a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow. She is now doing conservation work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington state, in which she monitors salmon populations, and she interacts with Native American tribes in the region.
Dr. Roe continues to maintain an active program of research, involving undergraduate students during the summer months and academic year. He shares his love of nature with an even wider audience of students in the college classroom.