Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kathryn S. Craven


Native to the coastal salt marsh habitat, diamondback terrapins are a species of concern in Georgia with populations consistently at risk from human impacts and climate change. One population of diamondback terrapins on Skidaway Island lay their eggs in the sand traps of the Terrapin Point Golf Course (TPGC). The population of terrapins at TPGC has historically had successful hatching numbers, averaging 92% hatch success. Volunteers collect the eggs from the sand traps and move them to outdoor nest boxes to complete the 60 days of incubation. When hatching season had ended, the volunteers dug up the nests and collected the unhatched eggs. These eggs were preserved in 70% ethanol and brought to the lab at Georgia Southern University. The goal of this study was to investigate the embryonic development of fully incubated unhatched diamondback terrapin eggs. The eggs in this study were from the 2021 and 2022 nesting seasons. The individual eggs were dissected and investigated for any evidence of embryonic development. For each egg where embryos were found, the stage of development was determined, and any possible deformities were noted. After all the data was collected, the rate of deformities and the most common stage of failure were determined. Several interesting deformities were described over the course of this investigation.