Abundance of the Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Coastal Georgia

William Muniz1, Kristafer Howard2 and Dionne Hoskins-Brown2, (1)United States, (2)Savannah State University, Marine Science, Savannah, GA, United States
Abstract:
Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) are estuarine turtles that are native to the salt marshes of coastal Georgia and many other parts of the east coast. Historically and culturally, they have proven vital to local communities along the east coast. Recreational and commercial crab pots currently threaten diamondback terrapin; terrapins become trapped in submerged traps and ultimately drown. The State of Georgia is one of many coastal states considering making bycatch reduction devices mandatory on crab pots to reduce terrapin deaths in pots. The purpose of the current study was to acquire baseline population estimates to gather information for models. Techniques such as headcount surveys and seining were used in efforts to capture, mark, and release turtles in Savannah, Georgia. Ultimately it is concluded that human influence could possibly be linked to high terrapin population and the methods used in this study were inefficient in catching the maximum amount of turtles.