Hello turtle-loving humans! Thank you for your interest in the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory’s (WEL) participation in the Walder Foundation. The focus of this research is to understand infectious disease epidemiology at the community level, so instead of focusing on a single species of turtle (as the
WEL has done for a few years now), WEL has extended their research towards health assessments and disease surveillance for all turtle species that inhabit Chicagoland. This research is of great importance because it allows natural resource managers to (1) identify pathogens present within the habitats and (2) identify potential threats to these turtle communities. In all, enhancing their ability to mitigate disease outbreaks and create novel approaches to disease control. Due to there being a lot of involvement of Blanding’s turtles and box turtles within the WEL, the grant funding from the Walder Grant Foundation will be concentrated towards common snapping turtles, painted turtles, red-eared sliders, eastern musk turtles, softshell turtles, and spotted turtles.
Our team, that will be collecting the data, is composed of Dr. Laura Adamovicz (principal investigator), Sam Johnson (veterinary student technician), and collaborative efforts from other county teams.
Introducing Dr. Laura Adamovicz, who finds almost every turtle she picks up “the most adorable turkey turtle ever”. Dr. Adamovicz believes we will continue to find all the cute turtles this season if the team continues to eat her favorite field snack, “Welch’s Fruit Snack”. Every once in awhile they show up in our car seats, backpacks, and lunchboxes due to her superstition. To be determined if this actually works!
Lastly, introducing Sam Johnson who is new to the world of turtles but is exponentially coming to love them. Sam is a “desert rat” from Arizona that loves all scaly and slimy critters. Her new favorite field snack is “Welch’s Fruit Snack” as she is afraid to jinx Dr. Adamovicz if it is not.