At LIU Post, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the important research projects of our faculty members. Whether it’s groundbreaking studies in pain management for cancer, kidney disease and nutrition, the migration habits of the Terrapin turtle, or the creation of electronic maps to pinpoint environmental problems, you can have the extraordinary opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the world’s leading scientists, artists and educators.
Some of our students have even authored major research papers, which have been printed in scholarly journals and presented at national conferences. These accomplishments are particularly attractive to employers, who tend to hire individuals who are able to analyze situations and document their findings.
LIU Post Biology Department grad student Wei Dai got his feet wet this summer.
It was for a good cause. Working in a summer internship program with a team of undergraduate and graduate students, under the direction of Biology Department chair Dr. Matthew Draud, Dai went to beaches in Bayville, Center Island and environs at every high tide, night or day, to help map the life cycle of diamondback terrapins who visit there.
Dai's role was to look specifically at the nesting habits of the females of this fascinating species. Because the study involved examining the effects of the moon on nesting, and was tide dependent, he had to come down to the beach twice a day for nearly two months -- walk the beachfront until the terrapins came out, weigh them and take dozens of measurements.
"It was quite a commitment, and the students did an incredible job," said Draud.
Diamondback terrapins are a critical species in the Long Island Sound ecosystem. Hunted nearly to extinction in the early 20th century, their population has rebounded. Dr. Draud and his students have conducted intensive research on the turtles and their habitat since 2000.
"My goal was to help protect these turtles," Dai said. "Hopefully gathering the newest information the area’s Diamondback Terrapin turtle population will help do that."