SCCF Staff Assist Southwest Florida Turtle Project in Collier County

13 Jan 2022

SCCF staff working on the Terrestrial and Freshwater Turtle Project visited Collier County in December to assist the Southwest Florida Turtle Project, headed by Florida SouthWestern State College Biology Professor Jordan Donini on the Naples campus with a large survey.

 

This gathering included turtle biologists, volunteers, graduate students, and professors from Florida and out of state. We branched out and surveyed a large area, which is part of Donini’s study site, to find new and previously marked Florida box turtles (Terrapene carolina bauri) in to determine if there were more undocumented turtles. The survey was successful; it added several new individuals to his database and documented recaptures. An important find was a box turtle that had been fitted with a radio transmitter more than a year ago but was lost due to battery failure. The healthy turtle was relieved of his transmitter and released.

 

Donini attained his master’s degree at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he focused on hormone levels in turtles, specifically diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin). Donini also was a volunteer with SCCF turtle projects and worked for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife for many years. His thesis compared hormone levels between Southwest Florida terrapins at SCCF sites versus Louisiana terrapins.

 

Donini and his group also assist SCCF with various turtle projects, including surveys, trapping, collecting data and genetic samples, and telemetry. By partnering, FSW students and SCCF staff gain experience working in different habitats and conditions, as well as learning different techniques for the same species we are monitoring.