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September 1, 2006

Biology professor and students showcase their research at conference

John Carr, associate professor of biology at ULM, along with three of his students, participated in the 4th Annual Symposium on Conservation and Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises, Aug. 10-13 in St. Louis, Mo.

ULM graduate students Amity Byrd and Josh Brown, and recent M.S. graduate Lori Woosley accompanied Carr, who was the lead organizer on a single species-focused session on “Alligator Snapping Turtles.”

“We thought this might be a good time for such a focused session since there has been a recent flurry of research activity on the species and some new conservation measures just recently went into effect for the species,” Carr said. “Another thing it had going for it was that this is the largest species of North American turtle and it has been of conservation concern. It was a very good fit for the meetings. I’ve had positive feedback about the session we organized. Several people commented to me on the quality of my students, so that’s nice to hear. It was a great meeting and I really enjoyed it.”

Carr presented a paper based on co-author Lauren Besenhofer’s thesis work entitled, “Assessment of Paternity in Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) Clutches.”

Carr and Woosley also co-authored a poster, “Sexual Size Dimorphism of the Tail in the Alligator Snapping Turtle, Macrochelys temminckii (Testudines: Chelydridae).”  In addition, Byrd presented a paper entitled “Reproductive Ecology of the Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica) in Louisiana.” Byrd’s presentation was based on her work that she completed as an undergraduate in the HHMI program (in biology) at ULM.

Woosley presented a paper, “Reproduction of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) in Northern Louisiana,” based on her thesis research at Black Bayou Lake. Woosley, who graduated in 2005 with a master’s degree in biology, is now employed with an environmental consulting firm in Brookville, Fla.

While Brown did not present anything at the conference, he is conducting his thesis research on the various turtle species that live in Bayou Desiard, with an emphasis on the Razor-backed Musk Turtle.

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