Ohio University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate student Julia Joos studies the thermal ecology of North American tortoises to gain a better understanding of how tortoises cope with hotter and drier environments caused by climate change. By studying tortoise activity patterns, heating and cooling rates, heat avoidance behavior, and retreat site selection, Julia hopes to gain a better understanding of specific habitat requirements and physiological properties that will allow tortoises to persist and that will serve to inform conservation practices in a rapidly changing climatic environment. She collaborates with TESF biologists Chris Wiese and Scott Hillard for the portion of her PhD work that involves bolson tortoises in New Mexico.
At the recent Annual Symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council Julia was awarded a 2021 David J. Morafka Memorial Research Award to help fund her work. Congratulations, Julia, for winning this prestigious award!