A Sub-tropical mass of water, driven by stream and prevailing winds...
Diamondback Terrapin Project
The Diamondback Terrapin Project was initiated in 2006 by Bermudian scientist Mark Outerbridge to fill enormous gaps in our knowledge of a species that had been added to Bermuda's native fauna list. Diamondback terrapins have been described as a globally near-threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources. On the east coast of the U.S. (where this species is endemic), their status ranges from a species of special concern to endangered in some states.
The Bermuda population of diamondback terrapins is localized to only one small area on the island (Mangrove Lake, Trott's Pond, and South Pond) Census surveys for the past two years suggest that there are less than 100 adults and that most of these are females. This tiny population of terrapins is believed to be the only population breeding in the wild outside of the continental U.S.
Mating in Bermuda has been observed in the spring and nesting from April to July. The average clutch size is 6 eggs, and incubation lasts for approximately 70 days. A more recent, and worrisome, find, is that the hatching success appears to be very low (only 10% of the eggs studied produced hatchlings.)
Studies in the U.S. have revealed that most hatchlings emerge from their nests during the day and seek refuge in the nearest vegetation, rather than heading out to open water. Small radio transmitters glued to hatchlings' shells have been used to monitor both movement and sources of predation during these first few months on land. This technology will be used in Bermuda to determine the specific habitat requirements of local hatchling diamondbacks. The radio-telemetry technology used to study the movements of hatchlings can also be employed to better understand the terrestrial movements of adult terrapins within the greater area surrounding Bermuda's Mangrove Lake, Trott's Pond, and South Pond.