Through our partnership with the Saint Louis Zoo, we are engaged in an outreach program aimed at exposing high school-aged sophomores and juniors from the St. Louis region to basic scientific research. Our program is titled TRTLE: Teaching Research through Turtle Life-history and Ecophysiology. 


Our overall goals are:
1) To increase the overall number of people pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), especially among groups currently underrepresented in these fields.
2) To increase student understanding of the nature of science and to increase their scientific literacy.
3) To raise awareness that climate change will have an effect on the life-history and physiology of our wildlife.
4) To raise awareness of the crucial role that comparative physiology plays in our understanding of how animals will cope with climate change.

Program Overview:
Each year, 8-10 high school students are recruited from the Saint Louis Zoo's highly successful educational apprenticeship program, ZooALIVE! (click this link for more info). From June through May of the following year, the students conduct a study of turtles that will simulate a climate change scenario for our region. The students tend to this study during the year and measure the effects of a warmer environment on different aspects of the turtle's life history, including thermal preference and rates of food consumption, metabolism, and growth. In addition, the program includes multiple trips to a nearby field site owned  by another of our partners, the Great Rivers Land Trust (click this link for more info), where participants learn the basics of turtle ecology and environmental assessment such as water chemistry. The students are paid a quarterly stipend throughout the year to help offset any financial loss they might incur because of lost wages at a competing job.

For more information or if you or your child are interested in participating, please email Dr. Dan Warren at


This program is funded through a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation