Dr. Tobias Landberg, assistant professor of biology, was featured in several Connecticut news outlets over the summer for his work with researchers from Mystic Aquarium and Tributary Mill Conservancy in Old Lyme, Conn., studying snapping turtles.
The Hartford Courant cited Landberg’s assessments on the safety of snapping turtle consumption—only about one-third of all snapping turtles are safe for human consumption, with one-third unsafe for pregnant women and the remaining one-third unsafe for anyone, he told the Courant.
For Landberg, studying health indicators is a way to ensure the turtles' protection. There is evidence populations are being depleted, given the number of turtles harvested as food, he says.
"I want to protect the snapping turtle, and the way to protect snapping turtles is to get limits on them, strict regulations,” he told the Courant. “The argument to the public that we should protect snapping turtles because they're an amazing part of our natural resources and natural history—it's not a super persuasive argument to the average person. However, the argument that eating a single snapping turtle could actually affect your health—that argument has sway with the public. So that's the track that we're taking in order to protect snapping turtles and educate the public."
Landberg also works with snapping turtles equipped with the Crittercam, a small camera mounted on reptiles and other animals, as reported in the Courant and FOXCT. For more on Landberg’s Crittercam work, read his feature story in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Arcadia magazine.