Beach Bum? No – Environmental Researcher
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
Brookville, N.Y. -- LIU Post Biology Department grad student Wei Dai got his feet wet this summer.
It was for a good cause. Working in a summer internship program with a team of undergraduate and graduate students, under the direction of Biology Department chair Dr. Matthew Draud, Dai went to beaches in Bayville, Center Island and environs at every high tide, night or day, to help map the life cycle of diamondback terrapins who visit there.
Dai's role was to look specifically at the nesting habits of the females of this fascinating species. Because the study involved examining the effects of the moon on nesting, and was tide dependent, he had to come down to the beach twice a day for nearly two months -- walk the beachfront until the terrapins came out, weigh them and take dozens of measurements.
"It was quite a commitment, and the students did an incredible job," said Draud.
Diamondback terrapins are a critical species in the Long Island Sound ecosystem. Hunted nearly to extinction in the early 20th century, their population has rebounded. Dr. Draud and his students have conducted intensive research on the turtles and their habitat since 2000.
"My goal was to help protect these turtles," Dai said. "Hopefully gathering the newest information the area’s Diamondback Terrapin turtle population will help do that."
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