Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Turtle Tuesday # 5

Hey guys! Sorry I missed last week...I was so sick that being at work drained all of my energy and I couldn't even think about blogging. I did so much field work with boogers running down my face (just what you wanted to know, right?) But, I'm feeling much better now!!

I wanted to talk a little bit about the research we are doing with the class I am teaching. As I mentioned before, I teach a class at the school associated with the research institute I work at. This semester, the students in my research class are working on finding a relationship between body condition and foraging grounds. Basically, they want to see if there is a relationship between how much sea grass is in an area and how healthy the turtles are in that area.

Looking for turtles

This means that they will have to do some habitat mapping and abundance surveys in addition to the actual capturing of turtles. When we do catch turtles, they take all of their measurements and tag the turtle. They are also examining the plastron (chest) of the turtle to see if it is concave, convex, or flat. A concave (sunken in) plastron means that the turtle is unhealthy or not getting enough food, a turtle with a flat plastron is eating enough, but is said to just be in "fair" condition, and a turtle with a convex plastron is a fat and happy turtle.

For any recaptures, we take all of the same data we took initially, but we add on the plastron examination. We measure their carapace (top of their shell), take their weight, and note any abnormalities.

At the end of the semester, the students are required to give presentations to their peers and their parents about the work that they did. This requires them to interpret data and draw conclusions! We haven't collected enough data yet to begin the analyses, but I'm excited to see what they come up with!!

What was your favorite class in high school? Do you like to give presentations?