Hello from your 2023 Lake County Turtle Team! Last Saturday, after wrapping up finals, we packed up the car and made our way to Lake County for the summer. This week, I am brushing up on my radio telemetry skills, and Varun (who was here last summer) has been training me to perform physical exams on turtles, swab for diseases, draw blood, and run bloodwork back at the lab.
On Monday, we tracked Howard, our first Blanding’s Turtle of the summer! Here’s a picture of him.
His tracker is hidden by my hand, but it is about an inch long. We use epoxy to secure it on his shell and his specific frequency helps lead us to him. Blanding’s Turtles can camouflage in the pond very well, so finding them once we are close can be a bit tricky. Once we found him, we took his weight, measurements of his shell, and did a physical exam to make sure he is healthy. After swabbing him and taking a blood sample, he was released back where he was found to keep living his life!
After a morning of field work, Varun and I made our way back to the lab to run the samples we collected. Here is our lab:
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? We have plenty of space to work and hold our equipment, including a centrifuge and microscope for blood work. After checking blood, organizing, and storing everything in the freezer, we were done for the day! It was time to head home for a much needed shower. Walking through mucky ponds in waders can be pretty dirty work, especially if you fall in the water (like I did the next day).
Until the next blog!