A new book by University of Georgia ecology alumnus Jeffrey Lovich and Prof. Emeritus Whit Gibbons, Turtles of the World: A Guide to Every Family, explores the diversity, history, and biology of these charismatic—and imperiled—animals. Illustrated with more than 250 full color photos, Turtles of the World is a comprehensive guide to the 354 known species of turtles that exist today.
The book opens with an introduction covering turtles’ evolutionary history, anatomy and physiology, and behavior, as well as their global distribution, ecological and cultural importance, and conservation status.
The introduction is followed by descriptions of each living turtle genus, organized by family, featuring distribution maps, species lists, and information about their biological traits. Many of the accounts also include conservation concerns, given that at least one species in each family is currently at risk of extinction.
“The need for conservation action cannot be overstated for this admired, revered, and captivating group of animals,” the authors write in their introduction. “We hope the following accounts will add to their being appreciated even more.”
Lovich and Gibbons have been studying turtles for decades. Lovich, who received his doctorate in ecology from UGA in 1990,is a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center. He has written and published extensively on turtles, including two editions of Turtles of the United States and Canada and approximately 200 scientific papers.
Gibbons, professor emeritus of ecology and former head of the Environmental Outreach and Education program at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, has published more than 300 scholarly works, among them the books Snakes of the Eastern United States and Turtles of the Southeast, as well as popular press articles including more than 2,000 weekly newspaper columns on ecological topics. The species of turtle Graptemys gibbonsi was named in his honor by Lovich.
Turtles of the World: A Guide to Every Family is available from Princeton University Press.