Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Gopher tortoises as facilitators of ecosystem connectivity

September 2023 - May 2028


Participating Agencies

Gopher tortoises are ecosystem engineers. We do not know how their movements and burrows could facilitate functional ecosystem connectivity, potentially serving the role of stepping stones in the landscape. Multiple species rely on gopher tortoise burrows, but their populations are at risk. This work will be done in collaboration with the USGS Virginia CRU. Findings from this work can inform decisions about gopher tortoise conservation as well as how land management could affect connectivity.