#3 - Matthew Captain, “Is There a Relationship Between Basking Site Characters and Morphological Features of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta)?”


Dr. Kristina Timmerman, Biology 

What inspired you to select your research topic?

I have always been interested in wildlife since I was very young. When the opportunity presented itself to work with painted turtles, I had to jump on it! As I researched and read about painted turtles, I noticed that there are a lot of factors that influence their growth. From there, my mentor and I decided to study basking area habitats and sample turtles in two different regions of Lake Sagatagan to see if habitat played a role in turtles morphological features.

Which of CSB/SJU's learning goals pplies to your experience conducting research?

The learning goal of thinking deeply applies to my undergraduate research because painted turtles had never been researched before at CSB/SJU. I was engaged in investigating how our campus ecosystem of the Abbey Arboretum affects this native species. I was able to apply the scientific method in a creative way to investigate a relationship between painted turtles and the habitat of Lake Sagatagan. 

What advice would you give to future CSB/SJU students that want to participate in undergraduate research or creative work? 

My advice is to find a topic that interests you and work with your professor to set up an undergraduate research experience. My time researching over the summer was not only beneficial but also fun. The relationships I was able to build with other undergraduate student researchers and faculty were fantastic. I would recommend any student to engage in undergraduate research as it helps you to expand your perspective, build relationships, and further your learning in your subject field.