Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 2000, 1:15
© 2000 by Chelonian Research Foundation

Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter

Powdermill IV: International Freshwater Turtle Conference

Anders G.J. Rhodin
Chelonian Research Foundation, Email:

A group of about 60 turtle specialists gathered on 13-16 August 1999 in Laughlin, Nevada, for Powdermill IV, the fourth in a series of occasional conferences focusing on freshwater turtles. Named after the site of the first such gathering, organized by the late C.J. McCoy (Carnegie Museum), at Powdermill, Pennsylvania, in 1980, the conference brings together, by invitation only, a small number of recognized experts on freshwater turtle biology and related fields. Originally conceived as a small, intimate workshop or seminar-type gathering of freshwater turtle ecologists, the meeting has gradually evolved to also include conservation, systematics, and other aspects of the biology of freshwater turtles and to a lesser extent, tortoises and marine turtles. In addition, the gathering has also gradually expanded to include a small group of students and other interested turtle specialists, also by invitation only.

The Powdermill IV conference was organized and chaired by Vincent Burke, Jeffrey Lovich, and Dawn Wilson, with organizational support provided by Chelonian Research Foundation, Univ. of Missouri, USGS-BRD Canyon Crest Field Station, and Univ. of Nevada-Reno.

Discussions at the conference centered to a large degree on the threats being faced by freshwater turtles and tortoises being exploited in the markets of southeast Asia and elsewhere. A press release voicing the concerns, conclusions, and recommendations of the meeting participants regarding this topic was subsequently released (see Lovich et al., next article) and publicized by the news media. A recurrent theme at the conference was the perceived need for more synergy between various turtle researchers and organizations and the need for partnering and working together through links with other organizations and individuals to help overcome the threats, both biological and organizational, faced by turtles all over the world. Several groups and organizations represented at the conference are working toward similar goals - strategic alliances between those groups and others will only help further the global efforts of turtle conservation. The following papers were presented:

AKRE, TOM. Preliminary observations on nesting in a Virginia wood turtle population.
AVERY, HAL. Importance of dietary constraints in the nutritional ecology of turtles and tortoises.
BEHLER, JOHN. Hibernaculum fidelity and dispersal in New York spotted and bog turtles.
BJORNDAL, KAREN. Evaluating trends and recovery goals in turtle populations.
BODIE, RUSS. Fine-scale use of floodplain habitats by aquatic turtles.
BROOKS, RON. Peculiarities of the life history of turtles on the northern frontier.
BUHLMANN, KURT. Life history and ecology of Deirochelys reticularia.
BURKE, VINCENT. Where have you been? The Kinosternon subrubrum nesting story.
CHRISTIANSEN, JIM. Immune systems in turtles: the melanomacrophage.
CONGDON, JUSTIN. Life history of painted turtles in Michigan.
DODD, KEN. Estimates of abundance and survivorship in box turtles.
EWERT, MIKE. Perspectives on a search for thermal developmental zero for turtle embryos.
FRAZER, NAT. Philosophy of the turtle II: an eastern perspective for the new millenium.
GALBRAITH, DAVE. A review of conservation genetics in freshwater turtles.
GARBER, STEVE. Age-dependent mate selection: the sexy grandmother hypothesis.
GEORGES, ARTHUR. The pig-nosed turtle - caught between a rock and a hard place.
GERMANO, DAVE. Growth of western pond turtles: comparisons over time and geography.
GIBBONS, WHIT. Presentation on Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC).
GIST, DAN. The turtle testis: primitive rodent or advanced frog.
GRAHAM, TERRY. Sonic tracking and hibernaculum fidelity in Vermont map turtles.
HARDING, JIM. Searching for ancestral emydines: speculations on fossils and hybrids.
HERMAN, DENNIS. Ecology of the bog turtle, Clemmys muhlenbergi, in the southern states.
IVERSON, JOHN. Life histories of ornate box turtles in the Nebraska sandhills.
JACKSON, DALE. Basing taxonomy on range maps: a cautionary note (the Suwannee cooter story).
JANZEN, FRED. Microevolutionary analyses of temperature - dependent sex determination.
KIESTER, ROSS. The global turtle database and its role in conservation.
KUCHLING, GERALD. Ecology of a freshwater turtle community at Ankarafantsika, western Madagascar.
LINDEMAN, PETER. Comparative analyses of functional relationships in the evolution of trophic morphology in the map turtle (Graptemys).
LITZGUS, JACQUELINE. Do Canadian spotted turtles really aestivate?
LOVICH, JEFF. The evolution of sexual size dimorphism and trophic specialization in the diamondback terrapin.
MITTERMEIER, RUSS. Freshwater turtle conservation in global hot-spots and megadiversity countries.
MOLL, DON. Preliminary studies of Chitra chitra in Thailand.
MOLL, ED. Vicariant events and the evolution of batagurid river turtles in tropical Asia.
MUSHINSKY, HENRY. Gopher tortoise biology: landscape to microhabitat selection.
PALMER, BRENT. Seasonal cyclicity in reproductive physiology and oviductal morphology in the slider turtle.
PLUMMER, MIKE. Activity and thermal ecology of Terrapene ornata at its southwestern range limits.
PRITCHARD, PETER. The Chelonian Research Institute: a demonstration project in chelonian systematics and conservation.
RHODIN, ANDERS. Celebrate the turtle: perception and preservation.
ROOSENBURG, WILLEM. Ecological consequences of environmental sex determination in the diamondback terrapin.
SEIDEL, MIKE. Systematics of slider turtles, genus Trachemys.
SHAFFER, BRAD. Turtle walkabouts: phylogeography and systematics of Australian chelid turtles.
TUBERVILLE, TRACEY. Invasion of new aquatic habitats by male freshwater turtles.
VALENZUELA, NICOLE. Is TSD II in turtles an artifact?
VOGT, DICK. Using demographic data to access the status of turtle populations.
WILSON, DAWN. How old is that turtle? An evaluation of the use of scute rings to estimate turtle age.
YEOMANS, REBECCA. Experimental reductions in yolk reserves: are fitness components reduced?
ZAPPALORTI, BOB. On becoming a turtle biologist.
ZUG, GEORGE. Aging turtles: thoughts after two decades.