Earthwatch scientist Dr. Harold W. Avery has studied turtles and tortoises for more than 30 years, often inviting Earthwatch volunteers to join in his research.
Why study Barnegat Bay, New Jersey?
I am sometimes asked, ‘Why have an Earthwatch Expedition in New Jersey?’ People who ask this don’t know southern New Jersey. Recently designated as a marine conservation zone, Barnegat Bay has some of the last remaining salt marsh ecosystems in the entire mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Knowing these things about southern New Jersey, I ask, ‘Why hasn’t there been an Earthwatch Expedition in southern New Jersey before?’
A great moment in the field:
We determined that the adult population of diamondback terrapins is female biased, with nearly two females to every male. Initially, female-biased sex ratios may positively affect the population, since females are responsible for producing clutches of eggs. However, we need to investigate why there are fewer males than females. We look forward to many more years of research so we can determine whether the population is in decline and in need of further protection from crab pots, boaters, and habitat destruction.