The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society presents
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Check-in 9:30 a.m.; Sessions 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.
The Arsenal, Central Park, 5th Avenue at 64th Street,
New York City
Seminar 2013, the twenty-eighth NYTTS Annual Seminar, will be held in the third floor Gallery in the Arsenal in Central Park (in front of the Central Park Zoo). The full-day event will feature in-depth presentations by Russell Burke, Jack Rudloe, and Peter Pritchard.
The Arsenal in Central Park
5th Avenue at 64th Street
The fee for the day, including morning coffee and lunch, is $45 per person ($20 for students with ID). Seating is limited: pre-register no later than Monday, March 4 by mail or online by Wednesday, March 6. Online registrations closed. Please register on site.
Two ways to register:
See the Central Park Zoo Web site for directions to the Arsenal.
- Register by mail with check. Download and complete the Seminar 2013 Registration Form (PDF) and send in no later than Monday, March 4.
- Register online by credit card through PayPal by Wednesday, March 6 (you do not need a PayPal account). To help prevent automated spam, the registration form is password protected. Go to the Registration Form and enter the User Name and Password (shown on the right) when requested. Be sure to enter lowercase letters.
Russell Burke with Galápagos tortoise
Russell L. Burke
Professor of Biology, Hofstra University
Jamaica Bay Terrapins:
A 14-Year Project Looking Forward
Russell Burkes lab has been studying the diamondback terrapins on Jamaica Bay since 1998, and has uncovered many surprising details about the basic ecology of this species and this particular population. For example, root predation can account for as much as 30 percent of the egg predation in some years, and hatchlings often emerge from nests in the fall and re-bury themselves in the soil up to 50 meters away to wait out the winter. Other things are to be expected: raccoons are important predators on eggs and adults, and females return to nest repeatedly in the same area.
Despite 14 years of study, many important questions remain. The length of this project has allowed Burkes team to detect some surprising trends that remain unexplained, including dramatically reduced clutch frequency, increased egg size, and increased clutch size. Burkes lab is just beginning to examine the effects of two major storms, and the explosion of terrapin nesting activity at John F. Kennedy International Airport remains difficult to explain. The diets of Jamaica Bay terrapins contain much more plant material than has been reported for any other terrapin population. These and many other puzzles will keep Dr. Burke and his lab busy for a long time to come.
Russell Burkes long-standing interest in reptiles was the major influence in his decision to pursue a career in biology. He earned a B.S. in zoology from Ohio State University, and an M.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida in Gainesville, working on gopher tortoise conservation. His Ph.D. in Biology is from the University of Michigan, where his work focused on the ecology and evolution of midwestern freshwater turtles.
His current long-term projects include ecological studies of diamondback terrapins in Jamaica Bay and wood turtles in northern New Jersey, and numerous shorter studies have included the ecology of invasive Italian wall lizards on Long Island and in Italy, as well as studies of Lyme disease, its tick vectors, and its wildlife hosts. At Hofstra, Dr. Burke teaches ecology, evolution, conservation biology, urban ecology, and wildlife disease ecology, and he is one of the coordinators of the new Urban Ecology program. He co-teaches Hofstras Biology-Geology study abroad class on the Evolutionary Ecology and Geology of Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands. He has an active research laboratory, which involves high school students, Hofstra undergraduates, and six to eight graduate students, all of whom participate in every step of his research projects. See Russell Burkes page at Hofstra.
Author and Co-Director of Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, Panacea, Florida
Fifty Years of Sea Turtles
Jack Rudloe will lecture on fifty years of sea turtles, working with them all over the world, from Florida to Madagascar to the South and Central America. He led the fight to protect sea turtles and enact the first laws in Florida in 1973, and worked to get shrimpers to use Turtle Excluder Devices. He and his late wife, Anne, published numerous scientific and popular articles on the endangered Kemps ridley sea turtle, and widely in Central America, on the ancient Turtle Mother Myth.
Recently. after his wife passed away, Jack traveled to the Pacific and wrote, Hawaiis filled with outrageous green turtles that swim amongst masses of people, and crawl out on rocks and sun themselves like sliders on a log in a lake. They crop down the sea lettuce and other algae on the rocks, and actually go to sleep on the cobbles. I got a chance to lay out with them, side by side, and took a nap with six of them for an hour or two. They aren't the brightest bulbs in the box, thought I was a turtle maybe.
Jack Rudloe was born in New York City in 1943 and moved to remote Florida panhandle when he was fourteen, where he learned to hunt, fish, and roam the swamps. He has published six nonfiction books (Sea Brings Forth, Erotic Ocean, Living Dock, Time of the Turtle, Wilderness Coast, and Search for the Great Turtle Mother) and two novels (Potluck and Chicken War). With his late wife, Anne, he published numerous articles in popular magazines, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Sports Illustrated. In 1964 he started the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, which supplies marine life to schools and research laboratories and also functions as an environmental education center. Over the years he has appeared on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America, the Fox Network, and in public television documentaries. He has also lectured for civic clubs, schools, universities, and government agencies, often incorporating both slides and creatures into his presentations.
Peter C. H. Pritchard
Peter Pritchard at his home at the Chelonian Research Institute
Director, Chelonian Research Institute, Oviedo, Florida
The Loch Ness Monster of Turtles
The worlds rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, is a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In his new book,
RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope.
Peter Pritchard, one of the worlds foremost experts on turtles and tortoises, is the Director of the Chelonian Research Institute in Oviedo, Florida. The Institute houses one of the largest collections of turtle specimens in the world. He received his Bachelors degree from Oxford and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where he studied marine turtles with Archie Carr as his major professor. Peter has written nine books about turtles, the most recent RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction. He has studied turtles in many parts of the world, and for several decades has operated a field station in Guyana for protection of nesting marine turtles. Three species of turtle are named after him a snake-necked turtle from New Guinea, a pond turtle from northern Burma, and a giant fossil sideneck turtle from Colombia. He has been recognized as a Champion of the Wild by the Discovery Television Channel, and as a Hero of the Planet by Time Magazine (see video below). In 2001, he was declared Floridian of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel.