Turtle Research in
The Eckerd College Department of Biology in St. Petersburg, Florida does freshwater turtle sampling five times a year in Central Florida's Aquatic Preserves under the direction of Professor Peter Meylan.
On a typical sampling day, with me in tow, Dr. Meylan and his team may bag 135 or more turtles of all sizes and species over a four-hour period of time.
They inspect each turtle, weigh and measure them, scan for any already inserted chips, insert a tracking chip in those turtles that don't have one, document their findings and then release them back into the river at the end of the day. Adult female turtles are additionally X-rayed at a local veterinary office to determine the presence and viability of any eggs.
The inserted chip allows the team to determine changes in size, weight and health of caught turtles that have been previously bagged and evaluated by them.
Noncommercial harvesting of freshwater turtles (including illegal poaching) accounts for the presence of fewer and smaller female species. Females are typically larger and are therefore especially vulnerable to poaching; in particular P. concinna floridana, the river cooter. People harvest turtles for food.
See this brochure from the Central Florida Turtle Research Group
The FLORIDA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY has some great links about amphibians and reptiles -- not to be missed!
Turtle Facts for Kids is a great tutorial for all ages
The Florida Cooter
The Complexities of Turtle Hibernation
Slides of Freshwater Turtle Anatomy
Florida's Freshwater Turtle Harvesting Rules
Return to Conservation Projects
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