ULM student utilizes time-lapse photography at Black Bayou Lake - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

ULM student utilizes time-lapse photography at Black Bayou Lake

Posted: Updated:
Source: ULM Source: ULM

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Since May, María Fernanda Blanco Pérez has taken more than 2,500 photographs of turtles and other animals at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

As an intern for ULM biology professor Dr. John Carr, Blanco studies the nesting habits of soft-shelled turtles in Black Bayou Lake, and her photographs tell the story, he said. "She is doing a great job – putting in tremendous effort," said Carr. "She is getting some very interesting information." 

Her research under Carr's supervision is a spin-off project of his work with alligator snapping turtles at Black Bayou Lake, sponsored by the Friends of Black Bayou. "I've known about an area used heavily for nesting by soft-shelled turtles for many years, but I never had anyone dedicated to looking at the soft-shells. Now we are getting an idea of what is going on with the nesting there – when they nest, how long it takes, and how the turtle nests are destroyed by predators at an alarming rate."

Thanks to new time-lapse cameras, Blanco's thousands of photographs document both raccoons and crows preying on the turtle nests. 

"My proudest moment was when we found the first alligator snapping turtle nest with Dr. Carr, and we could save it from raccoons," said Blanco. "Now the eggs are developing safely in the herpetology lab."

Since beginning her work at ULM, Blanco has realized how much she enjoys fieldwork. "I love going to the field. Fieldwork is the best part of biology, and here the biodiversity is completely different from what I am used to. I have a lot of new things to see," said Blanco.

Blanco grew up in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. As a student of biology at IE University in Segovia, Spain, she is finishing her third year of study and has one year left until graduation. Her work with Carr will continue through the end of June.

"I have always been interested in biology, especially the interactions that occur in nature," she said. She finds the swamps and alligators in Louisiana fascinating. The difference in wildlife populations caused some of her family members to be concerned, however. "My father was really scared about snakes, especially cottonmouths," she said, "so they were a bit worried about me coming here and working in the field."

One of her professors at IE University, Manuel Merchán, is a friend of Carr's and arranged the internship. "He contacted me in January about the possibility of hosting an intern for a couple of months, and I said sure. He told me she was a very good student, and I am in complete agreement." Through a partnership between IE University and ULM, Blanco's work with Carr earns her credit toward her degree.

"I like the people here a lot," said Blanco. "Everybody has been so nice to me that I have not had time to miss home."

As she checks her cameras and her pictures in search of turtle nests, Blanco admits to missing only one aspect of her life at home. "The sea," she said. "I come from a small island, so I am used to being near the sea." Though the sea is out of Blanco's reach in Monroe, the local swamps and lakes keep her busy. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:51:09 GMT
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
  • Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:17:56 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
  • Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:41 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:41:59 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
  • West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:09:38 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
  • Union Sheriff: Man was attempting to hire hit man to kill family members

    Union Sheriff: Man was attempting to hire hit man to kill family members

    Monday, July 28 2014 1:21 PM EDT2014-07-28 17:21:58 GMT
    UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - A Ouachita Parish resident was arrested by Union Parish sheriff’s deputies and investigators over the weekend accused of solicitation of murder.
    UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - A Ouachita Parish resident was arrested by Union Parish sheriff’s deputies and investigators over the weekend accused of solicitation of murder.
  • 17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:16:12 GMT
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
  • A Kansas man charged in the death of a 10-month-old foster child

    A Kansas man charged in the death of a 10-month-old foster child

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:32:06 GMT
     A Kansas man charged in the death of a 10-month-old foster child is expected to appear in court today (tuesday).
     A Kansas man charged in the death of a 10-month-old foster child is expected to appear in court today (tuesday).

  • Clerk wrestles gun away from armed robbery suspect

    Clerk wrestles gun away from armed robbery suspect

    Saturday, July 26 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-07-26 20:40:24 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery where a clerk fought a gun away from a suspect.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery where a clerk fought a gun away from a suspect.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.