Date of Award

Spring 2021

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Bobby Fokidis

Committee Member

Dr. Zeynep Teymuroglu

Committee Member

Dr. Paul Stephenson


As urban areas grow in size and number, there are increasing impacts on the wildlife. While some species adapt, others cannot thrive in these conditions. Stress is the biological response to a stimulus that threatens homeostasis, which can be used to understand the condition of an individual. While acute stress is beneficial for survival, chronic stress can lead to deleterious impacts. A majority of turtles can be classified as declining in number or endangered, yet there is little understanding of their physiological stress response. This study examined how various stress measures—including corticosterone (CORT) in plasma, nails and leeches, metabolic measures, H:L ratio, and parasite prevalence—are related. We sampled freshwater turtles from two locations in the city of Winter Park, Florida, over a period of seven months. While there were no correlations between CORT measures, we were able to find various associations between metabolism, size, and immune measure. Additionally, we have identified further research needed to have a more complete understanding of stress in freshwater turtles.

Rights Holder

Katherine Caldwell