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NC Aquarium's Science Café on Diamondback Terrapins: May 15

May 15, 2012 — 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (followed by Q&A), Surf House Café, 250 Racine Drive, Suite 1, Wilmington.

RSVP: 910-458-7468

Please join the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher Science Café for a discussion about diamondback terrapins with UNC-Wilmington's Associate Professor Amanda Southwood Williard. Williard has conducted studies to investigate the physiological ecology of marine turtles in Costa Rica, Hawaii, Australia, and the Virgin Islands. Upon moving to Wilmington in 2005, Williard developed a strong interest in a unique local species of turtle, the diamondback terrapin.

Diamondback terrapins live in tidal creeks and coves, and are one of only a very few turtle species that can tolerate the harsh conditions of the salt marsh. Williard and her students study the biology of diamondback terrapins in order to understand how they survive and thrive in this habitat. In particular, they investigate seasonal changes in terrapin habitat utilization, and how terrapins respond behaviorally and physiologically to changes in environmental conditions. Some of this research was funded by the N.C. Fishery Resource Grant Program. You can read more about this research in the feature story, Mapping the Overlap: Terrapins & Crab Pots in the Lower Cape Fear Region, which appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Coastwatch magazine.

Diamondback terrapins are currently listed as a Species of Special Concern in North Carolina, and information about basic aspects of their biology is essential for crafting sound management measures to maintain healthy terrapin populations along our coasts.

The Aquarium's Science Café series features experts in various science fields leading casual group discussions on important science topics.  The series is held the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Surf House Café, 250 Racine Drive, Suite 1 in Wilmington.