Coastal Conservation Research Program
by Dr. Lisa Ferguson, Director of Research & Conservation

We filled all 10 weeks of the Coastal Conservation Research Program Internship this summer to the brim with wetlands, birds, terrapins, and horseshoe crabs! Six CCRP interns joined our staff to monitor the summer’s happenings, learn more about the field of wildlife and wetlands conservation, and conduct their own independent research projects. The interns added incredible energy and fun to our summer and, in turn, we were inspired and impressed by their progress and insights – not to mention grateful for all their hard work!

Christian Anthopoulos, now entering his Junior year at Eckerd College, monitored nesting activity of diamondback terrapins at two saltmarsh sites enhanced with dredge materials to provide elevated nesting habitat. Caroline Behnke, a recent graduate of University of Tennessee – Knoxville, tested effects of water source and temperature on the development of horseshoe crab eggs. Destiny Devlin, going into her Junior year at East Stroudsburg University, explored changes in vegetation community and habitat availability with elevation and salinity at an enhanced saltmarsh site. Rachel Helt, a rising Senior at Lebanon Valley College, investigated diamondback terrapin behavior along a stretch of road with an experimental section of barrier fence. Harrison Hepding, a recent graduate of University of Rhode Island, advanced our knowledge of secretive species of sparrows that nest in the saltmarsh by estimating occupancy and studying factors affecting nest site characteristics and nest success. Ella Souder, beginning her Senior year at University of Miami, examined intraspecific interactions between large gulls and American Oystercatchers to understand impacts to nest site selection on marsh islands.

All our CCRP interns presented their independent projects at the Luing Family Internship Program Intern Symposium on August 1.

2022 CCRP Interns, L to R: Rachel Helt, Ella Souder, Caroline Behnke, Harrison Hepding, Christian Anthopoulos, Destiny Devlin