Heléna Turner

Conservation Scholar

BSc Animal Management- Bournemouth University, UK, 2011
PhD, Biodiversity Management, The University of Kent, UK, ongoing

I’m a PhD candidate studying Biodiversity Management at The University of Kent and collaborating with Chester Zoo and the Government of Bermuda’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

My research is on the Population and Conservation of the Critically Endangered Bermuda Skink (Plestiodon longirostris) and I’m looking at comparing demographics, habitat, morphological and genetic differences between mainland and offshore island sub-populations and the implications for conservation.

Not only are these skinks endemic to Bermuda but they are representative of one of the oldest extant Plestiodon lineages diverging around 12 Mya. With the last skink surveys being undertaken more than 10 years ago it was estimated that only 2,500 remain in the wild. It is expected numbers may be significantly lower than this now, especially due to their population being extremely fragmented across Bermuda as well as habitat loss and destruction and several introduced invasive species causing decline.

As they face many threats, I want to know how many currently remain in the wild and determine whether there have been any significant changes in the health of the population to help with their future recovery.

Project partners

DICE University of Kent logo

Key Publications:

Turner, H., Griffiths, R., Garcia, G., & Outerbridge, M. (2017). Natural History Notes: Plestiodon Longirostris Bermuda Skink Tail Bifurcation. Herpetological Review, 48(1), 198-199


Dr Gerardo Garcia (Chester Zoo)

Professor Richard Griffiths (School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent)

Professor Jim Groombridge (School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent)

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