Introduction to Desert Tortoises & Field Techniques
A new online lecture course focused on the Mojave Desert Tortoise will be offered that includes specific information about the ecology, habitat preferences, life history, health, physiology, and threats to the tortoise. In addition, the course will cover applicable state and federal laws and permits required to conduct surveys. The course will be designed to provide the background information necessary for biologists to prepare for working in the field. This introduction to Agassiz’s (Mojave) Desert Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, is designed for wildlife biologists, zoologists, natural resource specialists, wildlife managers, land managers, recreation specialists and would be useful for teachers, students, persons dealing with the public, and the general public.
This virtual course will not include field training but we hope to offer that in 2021.
This course is recommended for entry-level tortoise field biologists looking to prepare themselves for a job as a field surveyor. Completing this course will not guarantee authorization to work with tortoises. However, completing this course (or having comparable experience) will be prerequisite to taking the field course and other advanced courses the Council hopes to offer next year.
To be determined.
Useful Information you can access now:
Thanks to a lot of work by Kristin Berry, there is a new bibliography that you can download from the USGS website. Download the Desert tortoise annotated bibliography, 1991-2015.
We also recommend the reference book: Rostal et al., Biology and Conservation of North American Tortoises, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014, 190pp.
The following USFWS web sites provide some valuable information on requirements for field projects involving the desert tortoise. The second web site also explains the requirements to become an authorized biologist under the USFWS. These web pages are currently in revision, so check back as we will post updates when we receive them.
- USFWS 2010 Pre-Project Survey Protocol (outdated but useful)
- Carlsbad Fish & Wildlife Survey Protocols & Guidelines (has updated protocol and additional information)
- USFWS Translocation of Mojave Desert Tortoises from Project Sites: Plan Development Guidance (outdated but no replacement yet)