The Terrapin Institute and Terrapin Research Consortium are subsidized by the Whitehall Bay Institute, the Tortoise Reserve, and the following individual supporters: Wayne Gilchrest, Member of Congress, Maryland’s First District; Tom Horton, author, The Baltimore Sun; Bill Boyd, exotics vet., advisor to NAIB; David Lee, researcher, Tortoise Reserve International; Robert Evans, waterman, biologist, retailer/wholesaler; Tony Young, waterman, captain; James Sullivan, oceanographer, Agency for International Development; Marguerite Whilden, outreach, resource manager; Roger Wood, Wetland Institute, Stockton College, professor; Kevin Smith, land management, habitat restoration; J. Whit Gibbons, researcher, author, professor; Willem M. Roosenburg, researcher, Ohio University, professor; and Kristen Marie Hart, researcher, Duke University.
The Terrapin Institute and Terrapin Research Consortium Mission Statement
The Terrapin Institute is a consortium of scientists, resource managers, educators, and concerned citizens dedicated to the understanding, persistence, and recovery of diamondback terrapins and other turtles through effective management, thorough research, and public outreach.
Recommendations for Conservation and Management
1) Protect the adult population;
2) Limit the use of shoreline stabilization techniques including bulkheads, rip-rap, and beach grass planting;
3) Promote owner stewardship of nesting sites, and purchase and protect nesting sites with high nesting densities; and
4) Establish education and outreach programs using turtles to teach environmental stewardship and the importance of biodiversity.
Recommendations for Research and Investigation
1) Develop a thorough understanding of population numbers and trends throughout the terrapins’ range, including demographic studies that investigate variation in reproductive rates and survivorship in new areas.
2) Investigate the impact of commercial and recreational fishing practices on terrapin populations, focusing on crab pots, eel pots, and other gear that remains submerged, and evaluate mechanisms to prevent turtle mortality.
3) Identify primary nesting habitat and key physical features of nesting areas that influence the survivorship and sex ratio of developing embryos and hatchlings.
4) Use mathematical modeling to simulate current population trends and the effects of changing birth and death rates within populations.
5) Undertake molecular genetic studies to identify distinct terrapin populations throughout their range.
6) Study the ecology of hatchling and juvenile terrapins, particularly during the first two years of their life, to determine factors that may increase survivorship and to identify the need for habitat protection.
Recommendations for Teaching and Outreach
1) Initiate an education program to promote the use of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in both recreational and commercial crab pots—through presentations, displays in public venues, and contact with individuals.
2) Conduct outreach activities for students of all ages using the terrapin and other turtles to teach biodiversity, natural history, and ecology
3) Develop a public facility to promote the research, conservation, and management of terrapins.
4) Train students and researchers in research methods of studying terrapin populations through direct participation in terrapin research.
Abstracts of terrapin research, management, and conservation measures will be posted on the Terrapin Institute Web site (www.whitehallbay.org). Please notify the author of your activities. Membership opportunities will be available soon, and additional recommendations are welcome.