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Turtle population study aims to prevent population collapse

March 4, 2015

The global market for turtles has been increasing since the overharvest and collapse of Asian turtle populations, and snapping turtles are being harvested worldwide in unprecedented numbers to meet increasing international demand for turtle meat. Benjamin Colteaux is an Integrative Life Sciences Ph.D. candidate in Derek Johnson’s population ecology lab; his research focuses on assessing the sustainability of snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) under a range of historic and predicted commercial harvest pressures. Colteaux’s work examines snapping turtle populations in three Virginia waterways, each of which has experienced a different level of historic harvest pressure. By combining the data collected via mark/recapture, toxicology, radio telemetry and state and federal harvest/export records, Colteaux hopes to create a clearer understanding of the current state of snapping turtle populations in the U.S. The data collected from this study will allow for the assessment of current harvest regulations and highlight the potential benefit that adding new regulations, such as size limits, could have in snapping turtle management.

For more information on Colteaux’s work: »

For more information on the Johnson lab: »

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