Shopping Cart Link

University Press of New England

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Cover image Click for larger image

Diamonds in the Marsh
A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel

2006 • 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Nature / Reptile & Amphibians

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-692-0

“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

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.”Natural New England Magazine

"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

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.Northeastern Naturalist

“Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ‘What can I do?’ “Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www

“More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history—written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.”Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Author Photo

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.

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:25:37 -0500