Thursday, August 16, 2012

Turtle Power!

Chino Farm is not just for the birds! A small group of Washington College students, led by Dr. Aaron Krochmal, have been studying the turtles on the property for the past few years. I had the opportunity to talk to Brendyn Meisinger ‘13, a student intern, about his research.

Painted Turtle at Chino Farm
This summer Brendyn put 5 radio transmitters on Eastern Red Painted Turtles so that he could monitor their movements. Brendyn was inspired by some of Dr. Krochmal’s previous research, which examined the potential methods turtles use to find new ponds once the ones they are using have dried up. Brendyn wanted to know how the turtles at Chino Farm find new Delmarva Bays to use during the summer.
What is a Delmarva Bay? You might ask. Well, Delmarva Bays are vernal pools that are something of a mystery to scientists. We do know that they provide essential habitat for a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians. The soil and plant life found in Delmarva Bays are unique. Chino Farm proudly boasts a large number of Delmarva Bays. So much so in fact, that Brendyn was able to pick his own to study and name it whatever he chose. Consequently, Brendyn is studying at “Morrison’s Retreat”, a Delmarva Bay he named after Robert Morrison who founded Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

What do the turtles do once the Delmarva Bays have dried up?
Eventually Brendyn would like to use some of this research for his Senior Capstone Experience, and there’s plenty to go around! This project has many possible directions and students, along with Dr. Krochmal, will hopefully be able to present their findings this coming April at North East Fisheries and Wildlife conference.

Dr. K looks for turtles at Chino Farm
Rachel Field is the Education Coordinator at CES.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could be a member of the team! It's very thrilling to me to find out an unknown species and reveal it's characteristics to the people. I think Brendyn is lucky enough and has explored the done perfectly what is much enjoyable. Good luck for Dr. Aaron Krochmal and hi fellows.
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