Southcoast Terrapin Project

Basking SharkNew in 2016, NECWA in collaboration with Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay began a study on diamondback terrapins Malaclemys terrapin in the marshes of Marion and Wareham, MA.

In the spring of 2016, NECWA staff and interns walked the marshes of Aucoot and Cromesett, Marion, MA, in search of female terrapins coming up onto the beach to nest. The diamondback terrapin is the only brackish-water turtle in New England. In the late summer and early fall, NECWA is now actively looking for natural and predated nests to document the number of successful and predated nests in each marsh and to get a feel for the number of potential hatchings or new recruits in these areas.

Become part of our Southcoast Terrapin Project by getting involved. If you see a diamondback terrapin on a beach or in the water, please report yout sightings below.

Needed Information:

  • Date and Time
  • General location
  • Latitude and Longitude (decimal degrees preferred)
  • Take photos
  • What was spotted? Nest or Terrapin?
  • If nest, intact or disturbed?
  • If Terrapin, how many observed? Alive or dead? In water or on land?

The diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, is a protected species in Massachusetts. In the past, this medium-sized marsh turtle was abundant in many areas of New England.

Photo-Identification Techniques

Like all other animals, terrestrial and aquatic, photo-identification techniques can be used to identify individuals. Since each terrapin has unique features and markings on their body, there is no need to mark or tag individual animals. Taking photographs of specific body features that vary from one individual turtle to the next allows researchers to identify individuals within a population.

Report Your Sighting

Southcoast Terrapin Project - Report your sightings of Diamondback Terrapins in southeastern MA, by submitting a Southcoast Terrapin Project Sighting Report Form.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Volunteer with NECWA by becoming a member of our southcoast Terrapin team. Members are actively involved with walking the beaches as well as checking coastal waters for any Diamondback Terrapins.

Help support our efforts through your donations. Each donation helps NECWA to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to support this research.

Send a check or money order to:
NECWA - New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance
11 Clarence Soule Drive
Middleboro, MA 02346

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