Long-Term Ecological Research on America's Only Estuarine Turtle: The Diamondback Terrapin (pp. 447-462)
Authors: (Michael E. Dorcas and J. Whitfield Gibbons, Davidson College, NC, USA, and others)
Abstract: Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are one of the most unique reptiles in the world. Not only are they beautiful, but they are the only reptile to live exclusively in estuarine habitats. Unfortunately, as a result of many factors, their numbers appear to be declining throughout their range. In this chapter, we describe the longest, on-going study of terrapins in the world and some of the major findings of this study. We provide detailed explanations of the basic methods we use to study terrapins. We demonstrate the importance of long-term projects for the study of long-lived animals and we describe the importance of the study to us, our colleagues, and our students.