Full Reference: Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Monsinhon, J., Lopez, M., Lara, P., Santos, A., Marcovaldi, M. A. G., & Girondot, M. (2017). Sex ratio estimates for species with temperature-dependent sex determination differ according to the proxy used. Ecological Modelling. 365, 55-67
NEW PAPER: Sex ratio estimates for species with temperature-dependent sex determination differ according to the proxy used
Knowledge of the sex ratio of a population is crucial to understand their structure and dynamics. For species, such as marine turtles, with temperature-dependent sex determination, this knowledge provides a baseline in advance of climate change. Determining the primary sex ratio for marine turtle populations is challenging since offspring lack sexually dimorphic external characteristics. Therefore several proxies have been used to estimate the primary sex ratio of marine turtle populations. However, no study to date has compared estimations of sex ratio when using different proxies to determine the most accurate and to detect potential bias. To address this, we estimated the sex ratio of natural loggerhead, Caretta caretta, nests using 8 different proxies: two based on constant temperature equivalent (average of temperature or average temperature weighted by the growth of embryos during each time step) both for three developmental periods (the whole incubation, the middle third of incubation and the middle third of development) as well as two proxies based on incubation duration (duration of the whole incubation and of the middle third of development). Sex ratio estimates differed greatly depending on the proxy being used. Here we discuss the differences among proxies based on the biological relevance of underlying hypotheses and highlight the need for studies to accurately determine the thermosensitive period and to obtain appropriate estimates of embryo growth rate to estimate marine turtle sex ratio.
Full Reference: Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Monsinhon, J., Lopez, M., Lara, P., Santos, A., Marcovaldi, M. A. G., & Girondot, M. (2017). Sex ratio estimates for species with temperature-dependent sex determination differ according to the proxy used. Ecological Modelling. 365, 55-67
This summer, Florida State University (FSU), the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission / Research Institute (FWC/FWRI) collaborated to form a sea turtle internship at T.H. Stone Memorial Saint Joseph Peninsula State Park. The goal of this internship was to assist park staff with sea turtle patrol at a more remote, dynamic, and less developed area of the park, the Wildrness Preserve. The four FSU interns included undergraduates Sophia Fonseca, Emma Guss, Elizabeth Thomas, and John Zito. Graduate student Natalie Montero is conducting her research at the park and acted as the on-site supervisor for the internship. These students are a part of the Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group, which is led by FSU Professor Dr. Mariana Fuentes.
An average day began hours before the sun rose, arriving at the park at around 5:30am every day. They drove a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) to the tip of St. Joseph’s Peninsula, dropping off half the group to the start of Section A, and the other half driving to the beginning of Section B. The unpredictable amount of erosion occurring on the peninsula this time of year allows for the UTV to be ridden on the inland trail only and not the beach. The group walked almost five miles of beach each day, which totaled over 1300 miles combined for the summer.
Every morning’s main objective was to find sea turtle crawls and determine whether a nest had been laid. This was completed on FWC sea turtle crawl data sheets and entered in a notebook and spreadsheet containing the entire season’s crawls. If a crawl was identified to be a nest, it was surrounded by three wooden stakes, one of which had a yellow nesting sign attached to it. Other data collected included date, species of sea turtle, and location pertaining to high tide line as well as latitude and longitude.
Natalie Montero is researching the effects of local climate and nest environment on hatchlings and used select nests at St. Joseph for her studies. This included locating the egg clutch, depositing a temperature logger into the nest, collecting a sand sample from the surface of the nest, and increasing protection of the turtle nest with the addition of a self-releasing screen. She is also conducting this study at St. George Island State Park to compare how nests laid and hatchlings born at these two locations may differ.
The total amount of beach covered by the group lent itself to 96 sea turtle nests, 89 of which were loggerhead sea turtle nests and seven were green sea turtle nests. Unfortunately, this park experiences high predation by nonnative coyotes and native ghost crabs. After the completion of the internship, 66% of all nests monitored had been predated by coyotes, ghost crabs, or both. However, the group is keeping their hopes up for the untouched nests!
How are loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings influenced by local climate and nest environment? - By Natalie Montero
Sand dunes 50 feet tall. A river of sea oats flowing in the wind. Mounds of sand with baby sea turtles developing underneath. This is what my summer looked like while on a mission to find out how loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings are influenced by local climate and their nest environment. My project took place at St. George Island State Park and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, both of which are on the coast of the Florida Panhandle. Although they are only an hour a part, these beaches have quite a few differences. Compared to St. Joseph, St. George Island State Park has darker sand, less erosion, and fewer loggerhead sea turtle nests. These differences have already affected the sea turtles and the season isn’t over! So far, the incubation period at St. George has been shorter by about a week and more nests have washed away by storms (big and small) at St. Joseph due to how dynamic the beach is.
How did I accomplish my field work? St. George has an existing weather station, but St. Joseph did not. Therefore, I deployed one to monitor the air temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and direction, and soil moisture. These weather stations allowed me to record the local climate. To gather information on the nest environment, I recorded how close the nest was to the high tide and vegetation, I collected a sand sample to measure thermal properties of the surface sand for each nest, and I deployed a temperature logger about the size and shape of a watch battery. Each morning, I would identify a loggerhead sea turtle nest, locate the clutch of eggs, carefully remove half of the eggs, deploy my temperature logger, and gently put the eggs and sand back how I found it. I managed to deploy temperature loggers into 31% of nests at St. Joseph and 21% of nests at St. George. This brings me to a total of 51 nests! Before classes started back up, I managed to complete an inventory of some of these nests at both locations. An inventory is when you open a nest after hatchlings have emerged to count how many eggs hatched (hatching success) and how many babies that hatched made it out of the nest (emergence rate). These are exciting because sometimes you see a hatchling still alive that struggled to make it out with its siblings or there are some unhatched eggs that have various stages of the embryo inside that stopped developing. I’m looking forward to returning to both parks periodically to continue gathering this information as well as my temperature loggers and weather data.
This work could not have been done without the help of the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the always helpful staff at both state parks. The Sea Turtle Grants Program (www.helpingseaturtles.org) is funded by the money used by individuals to purchase sea turtle license plates in Florida. Receiving this grant allowed me to purchase the weather station I deployed in St. Joseph, the GPS I used to record the location of my nests, and the temperature loggers I placed within the nests
There are many words that come to mind when I reflect on my fieldwork experience this summer with the Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group at Florida State University; including, but not limited to, the following: rewarding, exhausting, learning, connecting, and unforgettable.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first arrived at St. George Island. I was told that we would be walking a lot and our feet would hurt, and I hoped that I wouldn’t get too tired. I arrived early in the day to collect data on coastal construction with Kristen, a graduate student. We began walking the stretch of beach at the state park, and a few minutes later I saw my first ever loggerhead tracks. Kristen explained which tracks were from the turtle heading up the beach and which were from her heading back to the ocean. The nest had already been marked, probably that morning. I was excited and hoped to see a turtle leave its tracks first-hand that night.
After walking around 10 miles on the beach for around 4 hours, and having not eaten anything that day, I began to feel very exhausted. I went to the house to rest and hoped that I had what it would take to do that amount of walking each night for the next 10 nights. I was given that night off to rest and prepare for the next night.
On my first night of surveying, I saw my first nesting turtle. I had only seen live sea turtles twice before, and both times they were hatchlings. The first time was in Ft. Lauderdale - on a nighttime beach walk with my family we happened to see a couple of hatchlings making their way into the ocean. The second time was on Panama City Beach on a nighttime turtle walk – after a while looking for hatchlings but striking out, we were making our way back to the house we were staying in when we witnessed volunteers releasing dozens of hatchlings from buckets and coolers. (They had hatched in the middle of the day on a crowded beach.)
But this was the first time I had seen an adult female sea turtle in person. From a distance, she looked like turtles I had seen in videos. But when I got closer, I saw her eyes, heard her breathing, and felt her determination. Her movements were so methodical. I watched Anthony, the graduate student I was with, hurry to get all of the data on her. I wanted to help, but couldn’t do much yet, as this was my first time seeing how to take all of the measurements, etc. When we were done, we watched her make her way back and slowly disappear beneath the crashing waves.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was connecting with the people I was working with. We had different people coming and going, from different parts of the country and the world, such as South Africa, Venezuela, and France. Being in groups with different people each night, we had plenty of time (about 6 hours) while walking to talk and get to know each other. I especially enjoyed discussing culture and language with some of the people from other countries; I was able to practice my Spanish with Hector and even learn a little French with the help of Jonathon. Sometimes there was singing, and when we would pause to take a break, we all would take in the sound of the waves crashing, the feel of the night air, and the beauty of the moon.
Georgina is the name I gave to the first turtle I tagged, after St. George Island. Hector told me I needed to do it fuerte, and that I had to name her and remember her flipper tag numbers (MML208 and MML209).
While collecting data for my study on human impacts on nesting sea turtles, we recorded data on all of the people we saw at night on the beach – most of their activity was early on our nightly patrol (9 PM – midnight). Some of them talked to us about what we were doing, and something that I noticed was that a lot of them seemed to care about the sea turtles and not want to disturb them, but many of them had no idea that bright white lights can discourage them. We even spoke with a family who had seen a female crawl up the beach, taken flash photographs of her, and then wondered why she turned around and returned to the ocean without nesting. This is a reason why more advertising against white lights on the beach is needed.
There are many aspects of this trip that I will remember, from sore feet, falling asleep in the car on the way back to the house at 4 AM (I wasn’t driving!), dancing on the porch, family-style dinners, bioluminescence, temporary tattoos, drinking lots of Gatorade, learning a lot, drinking coffee at 9 PM, trying to dodge the waves from hitting our feet, singing on the beach, to getting a flipper-full of sand in the face by a turtle (unintentionally, of course). But one of my fondest was when I was tasked with calming down the turtle and getting her to stop moving around so that data could be collected. I got in front of her and covered her eyes, pet her shell and saw the glow of bioluminescence. I even spoke to her, hoping to calm her down, saying things like “shh, it’s okay, that’s alright, you’re doing great.” She let out a great sigh and rested for a minute while I was next to her and I felt her exhaustion. I didn’t know I could relate so much to a turtle. We stayed there for a minute and breathed together, and from then on I was called, by some of my fellow researchers, the turtle whisperer.
Assessing the exposure of marine turtle nesting grounds to coastal construction: insights from Kristen's work!
xcuse me ma’am, do you work for Google?” It isn’t an unreasonable question. I look strange walking on the beach amongst all the vacationers. I am covered head to toe in clothing to minimize sun damage, wearing a backpack, and carrying a clipboard and photo equipped GPS. I explain to him that I am a Graduate student at Florida State University conducting a study to document the exposure of marine turtle nesting grounds to coastal construction. I was also asked “are you the turtle lady?” a lot. Well yes, I am A turtle lady, but I am not the turtle lady for this beach. I then answer a few questions about turtles, when the nests might be hatching, and mention that lights left on can disorient turtles. Hopefully my efforts will leave these people a little more knowledgeable about what they can do to minimize their impacts to nesting marine turtles and their hatchlings.
In many ways this project isn’t as exciting as others in the lab. There is no hands on turtle work with nesting females, hatchlings, or turtles in water. However, this is very important work. For this project I documented coastal construction on 35 nesting beaches in the Florida panhandle (beaches on naval air force bases were excluded due to a minimal amount of construction as well as logistical issues in gaining access). My project covered approximately 330 kilometers (205 miles) of beach to document the coastal construction that was present, and I covered most of this on foot. I took data on each coastal construction activity including a photograph and GPS location. This information is being used to verify an existing database of coastal construction permits that have been issued since 1980. This project will help us understand the exposure of marine turtle nesting grounds to coastal construction. Other studies have shown that various coastal construction may impact turtles in various ways. The construction may take up valuable nesting space if not sited well, the associated artificial lighting may disorient hatchling turtles, and turtles may become trapped by things like dune crossovers and poorly maintained sand fencing.
I did get see a turtle during my work. One morning after a thunderstorm passed through I was documenting one of the many stormwater outfalls in Panama City Beach. As I walked up to it I realized a turtle was sitting in the stream of water coming out of the outfall. It wasn’t a sea turtle though, but a freshwater turtle that was pushed out through the stormwater drain from the lake across the street. I knew that it wouldn’t be able to get back to its home, and that any other person passing by may try to assist it back into the ocean. So I carried the turtle with me until I could get back at my car and bring it back to the lake across the street.
This project was funded by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org
As the summer slowly comes to an end I am always excited to hear about each students experience and adventures during the summer. Sam was fortunate to participate in almost all projects conducted by the lab. Below some insights into her experience this summer .
My Field Work Experience - Summer 2017 - By Sam Garrison
It was May 20th when I left the bustling city of Tallahassee and made my way down to
the forgotten coast of Florida. Two hours later, I arrived at the St. Joseph Buffer Preserve to be
greeted by the four interns from Florida State University: Sophia, John, Emma, and Elizabeth.
We were lucky to have in our midst one of the premiere sea turtle biologist of our region,
Simona Ceriani, Ph.D., from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. In addition to
Simona, we also got to work with Jenny and Ashley of the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission who work to protect seabirds, beach mice, and other important
coastal animals from further endangerment. Last but not least, the resilient professor, Dr.
Mariana Fuentes, was there to welcome and guide us all. The following mornings began at 4am
in order to make time for the UTV safari ride through the wilderness preserve of St. Joseph
Peninsula State Park. We drove all the way to the tip to begin our search for fresh sea turtle
tracks. After five miles of walking, we met the others who were assigned the adjacent section of
the beach. Here, Jenny made a mock nest for us to practice locating the eggs, which were just
as fun to find as it was to watch Jenny mimic the tracks with her elbows and knees. Simona and
Mariana gave their expert advice for locating eggs and identifying track directions. I felt
especially fortunate to learn these basic skills from these knowledgeable scientists.
Shortly after spending time at St. Joseph Peninsula, I began my journey to Bon Secour
National Wildlife Refuge in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Here, I met Matt Ware, a Ph.D candidate in
the MTREC Group, who is investigating the necessary measures for nest relocation by
recording temperature and water table fluctuations at every nest in Fort Morgan. He introduced
me to my awesome new roommates Haley, Allegra, and Don. Haley was the sea turtle intern for
the refuge, this was her first season ever! After a couple days of learning how to install the
devices, Matt went on to help a fellow researcher tag sea turtles off the coast of Georgia. It was
then my responsibility to assure that each nest was monitored appropriately. More beautiful
sunrises alluded our daily patrols, this time we got to drive on the beach with the UTV. We made
our way to the sand through the bumpy access called No Name Road, which received its
massive protrusions from the giant vessel traffic during the BP oil spill recovery. You could see
the oil and natural gas rigs from the beach, which served as a reminder of how easily human
impacts can deepen. The first couple of days, there were no nests but a few false crawls. Each
day we managed to pick up the trash collected by Connie, a wonderful man who walks the
refuge coast daily in order to do his part in keeping the ocean clean. I’ll never forget the first
time that we spotted a nest and found the eggs, which felt like trophies considering how hard
they can be to find. This particular mother had crawled all the way from the sea to the top of the
dune to ensure her hatchling’s survival through potential tidal fluctuations and storms. Now, I
was to install the iClickers and the inundation devices next to the freshly laid eggs. We were all
ecstatic to mark the first nest of the season at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
After about two weeks of installing devices in Alabama, I made my way east back to the
forgotten coastline in St. George Island. It was now time to see the mother sea turtles in action.
Dr. Fuentes assigned us a different section each night to walk back and forth from, until we
found a false crawl or a nest. As we walked the shoreline from 10pm to 4am, our footsteps
revealed the bioluminescent dinoflagellates in the sand, which seemed to reflect the milky way
galaxy above us. The moon usually didn’t rise until 1am. With our red lights mostly switched off,
we scanned the shorelines for tracks of loggerhead sea turtle mothers. During our walk, we also
helped Emily with her research to document the human impacts that we could identify along the
beach, including human presence at night and obstacles like chairs and tents. Nightly
half-marathons became routine; as seashells broke beneath my toes, each turtle made it worth
it. If we were lucky to find a turtle, our team leader would go check to see what stage of nesting
she was in. If she was digging, we patiently waited for her to finish her job until she went into a
trance to lay her eggs. This is was our window of opportunity to check her flippers for Inconel
and PIT tags, take measurements of her carapace, and give her tags as needed. After we
completed our tasks, we let the mother cover up her eggs and make her way back to the water,
directing her if she was disoriented by beachfront house lights. With each turtle so unique, it
was extraordinary to encounter them so intimately and then let go as she made her way home
Furthermore, my current field work involves marine debris accumulation on the 10 most
important sea turtle nesting beaches in Northwest Florida. I recently surveyed St. Joseph
Peninsula residential area as well as the state park, a true gem of beauty and diversity. I got to
revisit with the interns as they took me on my favorite safari ride through the lichen covered
sand pine forest to the tip of the peninsula. There is nothing quite like seeing the sun rise over
the broad horizon of the Gulf of Mexico. As I walked, I documented every piece of trash I could
find. Whether a soda bottle or a small piece of foam, I was surprised to find so much brought in
from the currents at the state park. Unexpectedly, the residential area was significantly cleaner
but had plenty of smaller plastic pieces among the rack lines that may normally go unnoticed.
From first light to sun down, I slowly walked up and down the beaches among snowy plovers,
ospreys, and least terns. Seabird chicks were fledging as their mothers went out to the Gulf to
bring them their next fish, I tried to keep my distance as this is a very sensitive time period. As I
came upon people among the peninsula, I was surprised by their curiosity and interest when
they saw me analyzing the rack line with a clipboard. Many made remarks like “Really? Trash,
here?” others said it was the worst they’ve ever seen the peninsula. As I carried on with my
survey, I met more concerned and curious beachgoers along the way.
As summer fieldwork continues, I remember each experience, each place, and each
turtle uniquely. It was an honor to have been able to participate in these adventures.
Experiencing the field has me very excited to find out further analyses of the results we
gathered, as these study areas were once my reality. I will cherish my time spent in all of these
amazing places, and with each person I encountered along the journey. My personal investment
in the field this summer has given me a enlightening understand of the amount of hard work that
goes into conservation science. It is safe to say that this work is not easily accomplished without
passion and dedication.
Matt Just received the Florida Outdoor Writers Scholars Award for his remarkable ability to connect his love of the outdoors with the scientific world! Congratulations
Different perspectives: insights into the experience of a communication strategist during the nesting season
We were fortunate to have Erin Tilley, a communications strategist and designer, join us during the nesting season. Below she relates her experience in the beach.
A long walk on the beach: My night with biologists during sea turtle nesting season
Few places in the U.S. contrast more with my Brooklyn home than St. George Island off the Florida panhandle coast. In Brooklyn, the night horizon is defined by floors of pinpointed lights stretching skyward and every human need is within walking distance. Except maybe the need for silence. On St. George, silence is in abundance, save for the gentle rising of waves to meet the shore, challenging my thoughts about what I actually need. I need rest. My calves are still sore a little over 48 hours after I finished my last walk along the coastline. Daily walks across New York did not wholly prepare my legs for the nightly six hour shifts in the island’s soft sand spent searching for sea turtles with the Marine Turtle Research Ecology and Conservation (MTREC) Group at Florida State University on St. George Island.
When I arrived at base camp around 6pm—a rented beach house full with 15+ rotating occupants—activities for the evening had kicked into gear. The family-style meal of burgers was finished and planning for the night centered on a door with taped listing of groups and assignments. Sections of the beach were broken out by letters—I would accompany Anthony, a master’s student and teaching assistant, and Sam, a program undergraduate.
“We only saw a few false crawls in your section last night—hopefully they’ll come up tonight.”
“Does everyone have enough PIT tags and a GPS?”
“Has anyone seen my keys? I just had them!”
Preparation resembled a spy mission of sorts, though this aimed for the long-term benefit of both the humans and turtles. Supplies to tag and biopsy were passed out to each group, along with a GPS and red lamps. Snacks and water were stashed away into backpacks along with jackets for when the beach winds shifted in the early morning and we all headed out to begin our six-hour stretch of laps across our designated spot of dark sand.
Walking by clouded starlight, we looked forward to the impending moonrise, hoping the sky would clear and spare the use of our red headlamps—light, even strong red light, can have a disorienting effect on turtles coming up to nest. Soon into our walk, Anthony pointed out a distinct swished pattern in the sand that worked its way up towards the dunes, ending in a dark mound. After verifying, the turtle track, the turtle was indeed finishing to dig an egg chamber to lay a clutch of eggs, Anthony waved us up to begin the process of working her up.
Up close, I was amazed by her mass and strong, steady movements; she easily outweighed me. Barnacles and tufts of algae were anchored to her shell, forming a mobile micro-ecosystem, complete with squirmy little ghost shrimp.
As she laid her eggs, she entered a trance beginning our window of opportunity. A tape was pulled taut over the curve of her shell in three different measurements, stirring blue bioluminescent microbes to my delight. Turtles are very selective and easily spooked, but once they dig a nest and begin to lay, they are mostly unaware of the outside world. It’s not a state to test—volunteers restrict lights to the red spectrum and use touch and voices only as necessary—but the naturally occurring window of time gives scientists a unique opportunity.
She finished laying and began tossing sand back into the pit to cover her eggs, pounding it firm with thumps of her shell in a quick rhythm. In between her movements, metal ID tags were clipped to the thick keratin-like edges of each front flipper. A PIT tag, not unlike the microchips we place in our dogs or cats, was injected into the meaty curve of her left front flipper. The last step of collecting a skin sample from one of her hind flippers became difficult as sand was tossed, but with quick skill and a face full of sand, Anthony was successful.
We walked with her back to the water’s edge, stopping periodically with her as she gathered more energy to haul her dense shell across the sand. After she slide back into the sea, we returned to the rest of our walk that was quickly wearing on my tender urbanite feet. For the most part, the cooling sand felt wonderful, only to be accented with a broken shell or a ghost crab scrambling over my foot. I stumbled over a few abandoned sand castles and nearly broke my ankle in one of the few holes, and over the hours, I started to feel a pull on my Achilles from the malleable track extending the range my feet moved in and later, I empathized with others walking with shortened steps as to not lift their feet. Ice packs and rollers helped to soothe sore muscles, extending them through another night.
Sea turtles are worth the consideration. As members of both sea and beach ecosystems, they “mow” the sea grass beds, which helps them stay healthy and grow, providing a habitat for fish—both those that feed humans and larger fish. On land, their nests that don’t survive provide nutrients to the dunes, feeding the plant life that is a habitat for many birds and animals, and a barrier to beach wall erosion.
The stars still clear over St. George shone long before the lights of our human-made cities veiled their presence, and they will continue after we are gone. Our time here is finite, but we make an impact much greater than our years during that time, whether we consciously do it or not. By understanding more of what affects the turtles, I question my role and how I impact others. Yes, it is about saving this species, but it’s also about saving ourselves in our daily lives. We can avoid pollution from unconsciously harmful living and perhaps improve our lives by reintroducing the wonder of nature.
NEW PAPER: Does behavior affect the dispersal of flatback post-hatchlings in the Great Barrier Reef?.
The ability of individuals to actively control their movements, especially during the early life stages, can significantly influence the distribution of their population. Most marine turtle species develop oceanic foraging habitats during different life stages. However, flatback turtles (Natator depressus) are endemic to Australia and are the only marine turtle species with an exclusive neritic development. To explain the lack of oceanic dispersal of this species, we predicted the dispersal of post-hatchlings in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, using oceanographic advection-dispersal models. We included directional swimming in our models and calibrated them against the observed distribution of post-hatchling and adult turtles. We simulated the dispersal of green and loggerhead turtles since they also breed in the same region. Our study suggests that the neritic distribution of flatback post-hatchlings is favoured by the inshore distribution of nesting beaches, the local water circulation and directional swimming during their early dispersal. This combination of factors is important because, under the conditions tested, if flatback post-hatchlings were entirely passively transported, they would be advected into oceanic habitats after 40 days. Our results reinforce the importance of oceanography and directional swimming in the early life stages and their influence on the distribution of a marine turtle species.
Full text - Wildermann, N., Critchell, K., Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Limpus, C., Wolanski, E., & Hamann, M. (2017). Does behavior affect the dispersal of flatback post-hatchlings in the Great Barrier Reef?. Royal Society Open Science 4 (5), 170164
Through the Noyce SOAR program, Brianna Garris created an outreach project to teach students in the Tallahassee area about the impact of marine debris on sea turtles. She visited three different schools, reaching about 270 students. Surprisingly, many of the students had prior knowledge of sea turtles and were eager to identify potential solutions to the pollution problem. Brianna encouraged the students to work in groups throughout the activities to promote collaboration and sharing of ideas- just like scientists out in the field!