Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Jacob Kerby

Second Advisor

Dr. Bernie Wone

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Breuninger


False Map Turtle, Ranavirus, Microbiome, Cloacal Microbiome, MNRR, Missouri River


Graptemys pseudographica, or the False Map Turtle, is a state-threatened species in South Dakota. The False Map Turtle, a river-dwelling species, is susceptible to the viral pathogen Ranavirus, leading to the deadly ranavirosis, which is a systemic infection transmitted through the water that can cause severe epizootics in turtles (Johnson et al. 2008). We trapped for False Map Turtles in July of 2017 at three different spots along the Missouri River between Yankton, SD and Vermillion, SD and describe the Ranavirus infection status of all 79 False Map Turtles trapped in this area. Additionally, being a river-dwelling species, the bacterial microbiome within the cloaca of False Map Turtles is presumed to vary along different geographic locations within the river and is largely understudied. The bacterial microbiome within the cloaca of an animal has been shown to have significant effects on the overall health of the animal (Ringo et al. 2010). From the 79 individuals sampled this summer, 21 were analyzed for the bacterial genera present within the bacterial community of their gut microbiome by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and the major bacterial genera were identified. Community structure based on taxonomic relationships between bacterial genera based on similarity of 16S rRNA gene sequence is also presented. We conclude that there is no Ranavirus present in any individuals sampled this summer and that bacterial microbiome composition among the cloaca of False Map Turtles differs by geographic location, and that urination during cloacal swabbing does not significantly impact the efficacy of the bacterial community sample.



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