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World Turtle Day: a reading list

World Turtle Day is celebrated on 23 May every year since its inception in 2000. The American Tortoise Rescue sponsors this day of awareness to bring attention to one of the world’s oldest reptiles, and encourage humans to help in the conservation and protection of these grand animals. In honour of these grandiose creatures, we have compiled a reading list of biology titles and articles that have helped to further research into the conservation biology of all chelonians.

9780199736508A Field Guide to the Reptiles of Thailand, by Tanya Chan-ard, Jarujin Nabhitabhata, and John W. K. Parr
Examining all the reptiles in Thailand, this book provides details about all the Testudines living in the varying habitats across this diverse country. Physical appearance, geolocation, habitat and climate are discussed for each of the six families present in Thailand, giving readers the tools to spot these creatures in the wild.

Tetrapod Evolution, by Michel Laurin, available on Oxford Bibliographies.
This article brings together a host of resources about the evolution of the four-footed animals, including sections on the phylogenesis of turtles, and the evolutionary history of one of the oldest reptiles.

ICES Journal of Marine SciencePlastic and marine turtles: a review and call for research” by Sarah E. Nelms, Emily M. Duncan, Annette C. Broderick, Tamara S. Galloway, Matthew H. Godfrey, Mark Hamann, Penelope K. Lindeque, and Brendan J. Godley in ICES Journal of Marine Science.
Plastic debris is ubiquitous in the marine environment. This study reviews the evidence of the effects of plastic debris on turtles and their habitats, highlights knowledge gaps, and makes recommendations for future research.

The Ecology, Exploitation and Conservation of River Turtles, by Don Moll and Edward O. Moll.
This book puts the ecology and conservation of river turtles at its focus, attempting to shed light on the decline of these animals in the wild. Recommendations for projects and conservation measures are made in a bid to help future research into these precious testudines.

The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians (2 ed.), edited by Tim Halliday and Kraig Adler, available on Oxford Reference.
Turtles are perhaps the most recognizable backboned animals on the planet. This encyclopaedia entry offers details about every aspect of their being including their physiology, habitats, diet, mating habits, etc. This is your first stop for an introduction to the world’s chelonians.

Assessment of ground transportation stress in juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii)” by Kathleen E. Hunt, Charles J. Innis, Adam E. Kennedy, Kerry L. McNally, Deborah G. Davis, Elizabeth A. Burgess, and Constance Merigo in Conservation Physiology.
Sea turtle rehabilitation centres frequently transport sea turtles for long distances to move animals between centres or to release them at beaches. The authors conducted a study to assess whether transporting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles is stressful for the animals and results in recommendations for handling protocols.

California Scholarship OnlineExperimental Approaches to Conservation Biology, edited by Malcolm Gordon and Soraya Bartol, available on University Press Scholarship Online.
The rate of species extinction has almost never been higher. This book addresses the need to better understand and find solutions to the crisis Earth finds itself in, arguing for experimental approaches to conservation biology. Looking at animals living on both land and in the sea, new methods of learning about their ecology and physiology are introduced.

9780198726142Reptile Ecology and Conservation, edited by C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr.
Covering more broadly the topics surrounding the conservation of reptiles in their natural habitats, three essays in this collection examine the practices of sampling turtles for scientific research. Providing best practice guides, methodologies and suggestions on possible outcomes, this book is an informative introduction to greater conservation practices.

The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles, by Frederick R. Davis.
Archie Carr played a leading role in highlighting the importance of natural history and systematics in the twentieth-century scientific arena. For five decades he studied turtles and herpetology to develop theories on ecology and evolution. This book is explores his life and the impact he had on conservation philosophy during the last century. Read ‘And for the Turtles!’.

Tell us your favourite book on turtles, tortoises, and terrapins in the comment section below, and join the discussion on Twitter using hashtag #WorldTurtleDay or check out what’s happening in your area on their Facebook page.

Featured image credit: Many turtles by torange.biz. CC-BY-4.0 via torange.biz.

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