Timid Terrapins and Resolute Researchers

First off, I didn’t have great internet access this summer so please excuse my delayed posts.

After getting in contact with Dr. Andy Coleman, who works at IMMS, I struggled to come up with a time that we could meet. He only took boats out to do surveying during the week, and I worked during the week. However, much to my dismay last weekend, I had to work Saturday. Then my boss gave me the subsequent Monday off! At first, I thought, “What am I going to do all day while everyone else is in class or at work?” Luckily, one of my mentors suggested that I go out on a turtle survey, after I’d been telling her how much I’d been dying to go.  After a quick email exchange with Andy, we decided I could meet up with him and his colleague, Jonathon that Monday.

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Tacking Upwind

While the title of this may not relate directly to my project, I felt it was appropriate. This project has changed course several times, seemingly upwind, all while striving for the same goals: understanding the motivating factors that lead people to use or not use BRDs, understanding the public’s view of terrapins and other threatened marine life, and understanding some of the methods researchers use to track populations.

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Welcoming Watermen and Onerous Obstacles

I visited the Queen’s Lake neighborhood for the first time yesterday and knocked on doors to ask people about their crab pot use. Not a lot of people that I talked to say they have crab pots, and if they do, they say they rarely use them. Those who I did tell about the project were in full support of it. But things are easier said than done.

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Turtle Excluder Devices in Queen’s Creek

This summer, I plan to spend two weeks in May to assess the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in a housing development on Queen’s Creek here in Williamsburg. I’m primarily interested in the use of turtle excluder devices  on recreational crab pots. I’m planning to investigate to what extent, if at all, the residents are using turtle excluder devices in their recreational crab pots. There are around ten homes and each homeowner has a dock with anywhere from one to six crab traps. TEDs save turtles (mainly Diamondback Terrapins) from entering crab traps. Turtles that enter crab traps often drown, lowering local biodiversity.   I plan to encourage the use of the devices by providing and installing them on crab pots, free of charge. I will provide plenty of information about the high benefits and low costs of TEDs to the residents. Hopefully this will help encourage more Virginians using TEDs even though they are not required.