Terrapin Study: A Summary

Alas, our journey together has come to an end. It seems like a daunting task to draw a summary of such an enlightening and fun summer, but here we are. Just to lay out the setting of our summary…

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We finished our last turtle run on July 26 with a total of 78 turtles and no recaptures. We found a single nesting beach with several predated clutches but no successful clutches were found in the research area. Here are some of the numbers from our final stats:

Females:

Out of our 78 turtles, 34 were female.

The average length of the female shell carapace was 14.98529 cm.

The average width was 11.30294 cm.

The average depth was 6.264706 cm.

And the average age of our caught females was 6.25 years.

Males:

Out of our 78 turtles, 44 were male.

The average length of the male shell carapace was 10.98182 cm.

The average width was 8.336364 cm.

The average depth was 4.752273 cm.

And the average age of our caught males was 3.84375 years.

As this was an observational study the main things we are testing are differences between sexes (as the pots in each bay had roughly the same number of turtles caught in each over the research period. Other than that, the one peculiarity in our study was the lack of recaptures, which points to either an infinite population size (unlikely), a high level of terp death (hopefully unlikely) or a method for the turtles to leave the area without significant amounts fo energy being spent in the attempt. Our most likely culprit is the last explanation.

As of right now, I am still running some numbers and writing out our findings, so nothing is certain. However, being able to interact with these animals and with the people I was able to meet along the way was truly an experience I’ll never forget. I’d like to give a shoutout to my lab professor Dr. Randy Chambers and my lab mates, as well as my amazing research partner Justin Mitchell! This has been another fantastic summer full of interesting findings and a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

 

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