Meet the Researchers
Michael Arendt holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of
South Carolina, a MS in Marine Science from the College of William and
Mary/VIMS, and a BS in Biology from the Virginia Military Institute.
Mike's first interaction with diamondback terrapins involved assisting
Rebecca Estep with her terrapin telemetry thesis in Grice Cove in 2001, but he
did not begin actively conducting terrapin research until 2013. Mike has
quickly become a terrapin aficionado, as evidenced by his passion to ensure
that the SCDNR produces a BRD design that can be adopted region-wide.
Jeffrey Schwenter holds a BS in Biology from Lake Superior State
University and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston.
His thesis research focused on analysis of mercury concentration in various
diamondback terrapin tissues. Jeff's passion for working with
diamondback terrapins is unmistakable, as his 'terrapin whisperer'
personality lights up with every terrapin that he crosses paths with.
Erin Levesque holds a BS in Marine Science from Eckerd College and a MS
in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Her thesis research
focused on several aspects of population dynamics of diamondback terrapins
captured in the Inshore Fisheries Trammel net survey, the basis for
collecting long-term data for this species in this survey. Additionally, Erin
is the principal investigator for a multi-year research grant focused on
terrapin husbandry and juvenile habitat use.
Andrew Grosse holds a BS in Wildlife and Forestry and a MS in Wildlife
Biology, both from the University of Georgia. His thesis research focused on
population structure and anthropogenic threats faced by diamondback
terrapins in Georgia waters. Andrew's passion for capturing and studying
diamondback terrapins is equally matched by his publication record, which
bodes well for current and future diamondback terrapin research studies that
he is involved with at the SCDNR MRD.
Several seasonal staff and volunteers have contributed greatly to diamondback terrapin research
conducted by the SCDNR MRD. Among staff, we especially thank Ellen Waldrop, Brooke
Czwartacki, Julie Dingle, Austen Pickhardt, and Christopher Evans. More than 20 volunteers
contributed in excess of 700 hours since 2013, and we especially thank Morgan Cawley, Emily
Shaw, Taylor Cannon, Mackenzi Polk, Courtney Corvino, Katelyn Andrea, and Marie Moore.