News & Events
Students in a comparative anatomy class taught by Dr. John Jahoda, professor of biology, had the opportunity to perform dissections and necropsies (autopsies) on sea turtles that were part of the recent stranding on Cape Cod.
"Cape Cod acts as a natural trap and some percentage of sea turtles that come here during the summer months fail to find their way south around the Cape and end up being cold stunned as the water cools in the fall and summer," said Dr. Jahoda.
Some of the sea animals are successfully rescued, rehabilitated and returned to warmer waters either in the spring or taken south. "Unfortunately, all do not survive," said Dr. Jahoda. "And those that do not survive end up in necropsy to determine the overall health, parasite load and other aspects of their biology. We were able to obtain a few to use in our comparative anatomy course to provide a unique learning experience for our students."
The special autopsies provide information about the health, life history and ecology of marine life.
In the class, students were instructed in the techniques involved in necropsy by Carol "Krill" Carson, a visiting lecturer in the biology department who for several years has been performing necropsies at Woods Hole in Falmouth, where a majority of the necropsy sessions take place. She works closely with Robert Prescott from Mass Audubon Society, who is in charge of the overall turtle standings.
Ms. Carson, who has been a collaborator of Dr. Jahoda's on undergraduate research and internships for many years, is also wife of Dr. Michael Carson, geneticist in the BSU biology department. (Story by David K. Wilson, '71, Office of University Advancement; photos submitted)