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Diamonds in the Marsh
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BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the "fresh water, salt water, and everything in between" of its home off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Brennessel, a professor of biology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, argues that the diamondback terrapin's importance stems not only from its singular status-and that its beautifully detailed shell is a "one-of-a-kind evolutionary item"-but also from the threat to its existence by the increasing erosion of its natural habitat. She documents the terrapin's natural history by collecting, for the first time, crucial records and recent scientific studies that were previously found only in scattered scientific journals and reports. Although this specialized subject matter may not appeal to a mass audience, Brennessel offers the nonprofessional reader a wealth of fascinating information, from how the annual activity cycle of terrapins is dictated by water temperature to the quality and quantity of coastal zones needed to maintain and protect younger terrapins between their hatching and maturation, a relatively unstudied "black hole in terrapin life history." Photos. (Apr. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the 'fresh water, salt water, and everything in between.'" - Publishers Weekly "A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados." - Herpetological Review"

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