AP Biology and Zoology students contributed research to the journal article, “Effects of urbanization on the population structure of freshwater turtles across the United States,” which was recently accepted by the journal Conservation Biology.
The project is in conjunction with a nationwide consortium of small liberal arts colleges from Pennsylvania to Minnesota and Puerto Rico to Canada. At this time, Moravian Academy is the only active secondary institution contributing data to this project.
The project is being conducted by a consortium called “Ecological Research as Education Network” (EREN), which was founded in 2010. Moravian Academy biology teacher Dr. Peter Kish became associated with the group in 2011 when the turtle population group was formed. At the time, the group was focused mostly on getting faculty together to use the projects in their classes and to begin a meta-data collection from across the US.
The goals of the program are for students to identify the species of turtle, either a red-eared slider or painted turtle, then make various measurements and mark each turtle with a “code”. The measurements include the upper (carapace) and lower (plastron) shells, the right middle fingernail (to determine sex), and the length of the tail in relation to the anus (again to determine sex).
Congratulations to Dr. Kish and those students who contributed data to this project!