Kirsten Writes a Note to Self

You will also see a picture of me working at my lab bench with a taped note saying “Literally please wait 5 minutes OMG.” As you can imagine, lab work does not always run smoothly. I am spending a lot of lab time this summer doing DNA extractions, and it is a very tedious process with many steps involved, one of them being to wait five minutes for an elution buffer to mix with the DNA. This is the last step in the process, so anytime I forget to wait five minutes (which I have now done an absurd amount of times), I have to start the extractions all over again. Talk about frustrating! But, thank goodness, we always take two swabs on every turtle so we have back-ups in case the first round of extractions doesn’t work out. Stay tuned to see if I master DNA extractions this summer!


Lauren’s Happy to See Shelley

We found Shelley! Shelley is an adult, female Blanding’s who had a transmitter last year. Typically these transmitters last 3-5 years without any need to replace them. Unfortunately, sometimes over winter the transmitters die unexpectedly or can fall off. Shelley had not been seen yet this year and it was presumed her transmitter had done one of these two things. This week she ended up in one of our traps (without a transmitter)! And the best part is, she has eggs! The biologists were able to take her back to the turtle building, give her a new transmitter and put her back in the swale she was found in to carry on with her nesting duties. Hopefully in the next week or two, we will be able to see this lovely lady dig a hole and lay her precious cargo.


Typical Field Work-Up from Lauren’s GoPro

Brief physical exam, blood draw, swabs, complete physical exam


“Oh look a butterfly! Just kidding it’s a piece of trash.”

A quote from Kirsten after a long day in the field when we were sweaty, tired, and apparently a little hallucinogenic. After thinking about it though, it is amazing how much trash we see out in the field, especially being a forest preserve. I have seen plastic bags, glass bottles, cigarette packs, bicycle pieces, car tires, and fishing lures. It’s always a question of how these things got here in the first place, but then we remember humans. Turtles rule, humans drool.


Come at me, Mosquitos

Before we close out this week’s blog, we need to explain some of the pictures you will see in our camera roll below. See those state-of-the-art nets we are wearing on our faces? Lauren and I had to take a break from our usual trendsetting attire (our typical work fashion including pants tucked into socks with the added flare of flip-flops or sandals… I know, I know, we can’t all be fashionistas) to protect our faces from, you guessed it, mosquitoes! The cloudy and humid weather has left both of our field sites ridden with mosquitoes. Having the bugs flying around our faces makes turtle workups much more difficult, so we have been using these bug nets to keep the pests away. It works really well until one of them gets inside your net… 5 mosquito bites on my face later, I learned my lesson. 


Camera Roll:



Total Turtle Sample Count:


We broke 100!