Thursday, June 14, 2012
For two weeks each year, 8 high school students join the graduate and undergraduate students doing research at turtle camp. For these two weeks, these students are immersed in science research. They participate in the ongoing projects associated with the Janzen lab, and have an opportunity to develop their own research projects. Students generate their own questions, are guided through the process of developing a experiment or study that can answer their question, and have an opportunity to present their research to the public. The Turtle Camp Research and Education in Ecology (TREE) Program is a rare opportunity for students of this age to engage in real science. This year’s TREE program started on Monday, and we will get to know these students and their projects over the next two weeks.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
|A baby turtle on its journey to water.|
|You are a COLD baby turtle!|
Sunday, June 10, 2012
|A developing turtle embryo!|
Its now early July and you have been developing well. Your sexual structures have not yet developed and whether you will grow boy parts or girl parts is now being determined. This years temperatures are about average, and your nest is in a sunny spot. In particular, during the afternoon, there is no shade covering your nest. These warm temperatures increase the developmental rate, meaning cells are dividing faster and your body is growing quickly. When you are at a cooler temperature you develop more slowly. Since you are at a warm temperature certain genes are telling your body to produce hormones that direct your developing tissue to become ovaries as opposed to testes. This means you are a girl!
Development proceeds rapidly as this summer is very warm. In early August, you are almost completely developed and it’s about time to hatch. You have a special scale on the end of your nose called an egg tooth. You slit the leathery shell and take your first breath of air. Over the next day or two you will completely crawl out of your shell. All of your siblings are doing the same thing right now. Within a day, there will no longer be a nest filled with eggs but now a nest filled with you and your baby turtle siblings. You might think that the next step is to crawl out of the nest, but in fact, your chances of survival are much better if you sit tight, and endure the coming winter months in the comfort of your nest.