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Turtle travel research aims to help reptiles cross the road safely

In February PhD Laurentian University student Sean Boyle won the university's three-minute thesis competition outlining his research around turtle travel.

Boyle, who studies in the Boreal Ecology program at Laurentian, beat out 11 other graduate students by clearly communicating his thesis in under three minutes.

His presentation was called, "A shocking model for mitigation." Sean Boyle's PhD thesis examines the routes turtles travel.

Boyle , with the help of funding by The Friends of Presquile, has been working in Presqu'ile Provincial Park near Lake Ontario, and hopes his work will help determine where mitigation efforts such as tunnels and fencing may prevent threatened species like turtles from being hit on highways.

Before a panel of judges, Boyle explained his work tracking animals using a method called circuit theory. "The animal movement through the landscape is like the electricity flowing through a circuit," Boyle said. “By looking at what causes resistance to travel, such as a mountain or river, scientists can predict the routes animals will travel”.