About the Journal

Chelonian Research Foundation, established in 1992 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, is a non-profit IRS-designated 501(c)(3) tax-exempt private operating foundation established for the purposes of producing and publishing scientific research on turtles and tortoises of the world, as well as supporting worldwide turtle and tortoise research through charitable distributions to associated independent scientific investigators or research organizations that produce specific research consistent with the stated objectives of the Foundation. The Foundation was established partly in response to the rapidly deteriorating natural environment and its deleterious effects on populations of turtles and tortoises of the world as well as the threatening effects of direct human exploitation on turtles and tortoises around the world, and partly in response to the global need for systematic scientific investigations and documentation of the diversity of these animals. The broad purpose of the Foundation is to become involved where the energies of concerned and talented individuals and the application of resources may reasonably be anticipated to provide a scientific basis to allow for potential improvement in conditions or increased understanding of turtles and tortoises.

The specific goals of the Foundation are the production, publication, and support of worldwide turtle and tortoise research, with an emphasis on conservation, systematic relationships, geographic distribution, natural history, morphology, and the scientific basis of chelonian biodiversity and conservation. A further goal of the Foundation is the documentation of previous and current worldwide turtle and tortoise research, chelonian scientific literature, and taxonomic diversity and nomenclature of turtles, with a view towards establishing a publically available synoptic searchable database of turtle and tortoise literature, nomenclature, conservation, distribution, and research. Other related aspects of scientific turtle and tortoise research may also be produced, published, and supported at the discretion of the governing Board. In addition, public education and the dissemination of research results is encouraged through the participation of Foundation members in public scientific symposia and international meetings, as well as the support of non-Foundation publications and organizations that perform and publish research investigations consistent with the stated objectives of the Foundation. The scope of the work produced and supported by the Foundation may include all turtles and tortoises of all habitats, freshwater, marine, and terrestrial, and may also include studies on fossil and archaeological turtle specimens.

To further its objectives the Foundation may solicit funding or support for research and operations through any means available, including but not limited to private or public tax-deductible donations, private or foundation endowments, and grants or support from either non-governmental organizations or government institutions and funding agencies. Funding obtained may either be distributed directly for Foundation operations and qualifying distributions, or may be accumulated into endowment funds, with subsequent distributions from the income produced. When appropriate, the Foundation may receive or acquire land or other tangible assets that may be used for the benefit of turtle-related conservation and research purposes.

Operations of the Foundation may include any related aspects of turtle and tortoise research, including the procurement and maintenance of a physical facility for its operations and/or storage of its turtle-related and administrative physical assets, the procurement and maintenance of a scientific library, data analysis systems, research equipment and laboratories, living and preserved chelonian specimen collections, and the provision of turtle research-associated travel expenses. In addition, the Foundation may pursue whatever turtle-related endeavors the governing Board decides constitute furthering the stated objectives of the Foundation.


The Trustee(s) of the Foundation appoint a managing Director and members of a rotating Executive Board. The Trustee(s) and Director are automatic and permanent Executive Board members as long as they retain their appointed positions. The Director may be appointed or terminated at anytime at the discretion of the Trustee(s). Other members of the Executive Board will each serve three-year terms when appointed by the Trustee(s) and may or may not be re-appointed at the discretion of the Trustee(s) without limit to the number of terms served. Additional members of the Executive Board may be appointed at any time, and there is no maximum to the number of Executive Board members allowed. The minimum number of Executive Board members shall not be less than two, and shall at all times include at least one member of the public scientific and/or business community. The non-Trustee Executive Board members hold no fiduciary responsibility for the Foundation and are not personally liable for any Foundation operations or failures of the Foundation to meet its requirements regarding its continued status as a tax-exempt private operating foundation. Such fiduciary responsibility and economic liability rests solely with the Trustee(s).

Executive Board members serve primarily an operational and advisory function to oversee the direction and execution of the Foundation’s Statement of Purpose, to assist the Trustee(s) and Director in operational decisions and long-term planning, and to help determine how the annual qualifying distributions will best be apportioned to further the stated objectives of the Foundation. The Trustee(s) and Director have the authority, without requiring approval by the Executive Board, to make decisions regarding Foundation administrative operations and internal qualifying operational distributions. Foundation support of worldwide turtle and tortoise research through external qualifying charitable distributions to associated independent scientific investigators or research organizations will require simple majority approval of the Executive Board, with potential ties broken by simple majority vote of the Trustee(s). The Foundation may further employ such staff as may be required for its activities and which its resources will allow. It is anticipated that the Foundation will associate with educational, scientific, and other institutions as well as qualified independent scientific investigators when such association will provide for the expertise, staff, and other resources required for a particular project.