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Turtle Research: Elizabethtown biology students get out of their shells

"We can teach students not just about what happens at just one site, but how ecological processes occur over large scales." -- Dr. David Bowne
Turtle Research: Elizabethtown bio students get out of their shells

On April 16, 2013, students in Dr. David Bowne's Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Diversity of Life lab donned waders and headed into "Weird Pond" and Lake Placida in the name of turtle research. This real-world learning opportunity gave students from the biology department a chance to work hands-on with a wildlife population they live with and answer real-world questions, explains Bowne.

"The lab was designed to teach students how to estimate the population size of wildlife and for them to learn basic freshwater turtle biology," he said.

Students set and check traps for turtles. If turtles are found, students record findings (such as sex and length) and then release them back into the water.

This lab activity also is part of a larger, multi-institution research project called TurtlePop, which is led by Bowne and part of the Ecology as Education Network. So this lab not only helps Elizabethtown College students learn more about the world around them locally, but also allows students at more than 30 institutions to have a similar experience--and share the data.

"We can teach students not just about what happens at just one site, but how ecological processes occur over large scales," he said.

View more photos in the College's Facebook photo album.

Video from the Day

Watch as the students wade into the pond -- and come out with reptiles!

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