Virginia TerpSearch 2011 is a statewide, volunteer-based survey organized by graduate student Diane Tulipani of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The goal of the survey is to record whether or not diamondack terrapins occur in selected areas of Virginia’s portion of Chesapeake Bay, and to estimate their population through careful counts of surfacing turtles.
Survey results will help clarify the conservation status of diamondback terrapins in Virginia, which is currently unclear due to a lack of recent data concerning the turtle’s abundance and distribution. “TerpSearch” will be the first-ever comprehensive study of diamondback terrapin populations in Virginia, and could lead to more effective management of activities that contribute to terrapin mortality in the Commonwealth.
Diamondback terrapins are a unique species of brackish-water turtle whose numbers are thought to be in decline due to habitat loss, nest predation, and drowning in crab pots.
The collected information will be summarized in a report to federal and state conservation and wildlife agencies, as well as the general public.
Individuals or organization interested in volunteering for the TerpSearch 2011 survey can register on-line at http://bit.ly/terpsearch. Make sure to provide a valid e-mail address and phone number so that we can contact you. Please do not bring small children or pets (except service animals) along during the survey.
Survey Materials (pdf)
- Survey Datasheet
- List of Materials
- How to identify a diamondback terrapin
- Other Virginia turtles
- Information on venomous snakes
Survey Locations and Dates
The survey will take place on weekends from June through mid-July within six areas along Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline, from Hampton Roads and the Northern Neck to Accomack and Northampton counties on the Eastern Shore. Each area may contain up to 90 observation sites. A second survey season is planned for summer 2012.
To suggest potential observation locations, provide information about access, or gain further information, contact Diane Tulipani at [[dctulip]] or 804-684-7807.