You’ve heard about all the awesome research Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) has been doing to promote and sustain sea turtle conservation. But who’s really behind it? Read on about LMC’s research department, including the six field technicians and two interns who are assisting in collecting this season’s data alongside LMC research staff!
Our interns: Samantha Colios: Sam is a Jupiter, Florida native currently studying Environmental Science at Florida Atlantic University. She has been a summer camp counselor, education volunteer and rehabilitation volunteer at LMC in the past and is looking forward to working in our research department to learn about nesting sea turtle biology.
Gabriella Kaminski: Gabriella is currently in a Master’s degree program for Environmental Studies at Antioch University in Keene, New Hampshire. Gabbie is originally from Austin, Texas and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Dallas. Gabbie is looking forward to (hopefully) getting to see hatchlings emerge from a nest this summer.
Our field technicians: Aubrey Frye Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska: I recently received a Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Aquatic Sciences. While there, I did nesting research on a much, much smaller scale with painted turtles. I became interested in sea turtle nesting and I jumped at the opportunity to accept the position last year. I absolutely had a blast last season and can’t wait to get started on this one! Bring on the turtles! I am also currently a laboratory assistant at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL. This is my second consecutive season working as a Field Technician for LMC.
Emily Kluga Hometown: Safety Harbor, Florida and Newton, Connecticut: I received a Bachelor’s degree from University of Connecticut in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I can’t explain what exactly made me interested in sea turtles, but after I completed a sea turtle rehabilitation internship with Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle, Dolphin and Whale Hospital as a junior in college, I was hooked. In 2013, I interned for Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. I found the nesting aspect of sea turtle conservation to be really rewarding and something that I was always looking for in a research and conservation career – field work, office work, interactions with the public, hands on experience – it was perfect. This will be my first season as a Field Technician with LMC.
Jen Reilly Hometown: Farmingdale, New York: I became involved in the field of sea turtle conservation following the completion of my internship in Hawai’i in 2008 where I assisted a graduate student with her thesis research on Hawksbill sea turtles and their foraging habits. It was also where I met my first Hawksbill nester! Since then, I became fascinated with the species and wanted to pursue my newfound interest. I enrolled in one of Duke University Marine Laboratory’s courses in sea turtle biology and conservation in Beaufort, North Carolina during the summer of 2011. Two years later, I graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with my Master of Arts degree in Marine Conservation and Policy. For my Master’s, I did an internship/capstone project with the County of Volusia Environmental Management in Florida focusing on sea turtle nesting beaches under their Habitat Conservation Plan. This is my second consecutive season working as a Field Technician for LMC.
Keith Dawson Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland: I received a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University in Geography. I first became interested in sea turtle nesting biology while working as a Marine Turtle Specialist for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida. While working at Gumbo Limbo, I gained experience with sea turtle rehabilitation, conducting daily nesting surveys, scouting for nighttime sea turtle walks and educating the public. I am currently a Laboratory Assistant at Wildpine Ecological Laboratory in Jupiter, FL, where I assist with research on sea grasses, oysters, and water quality in the Loxahatchee River estuary. This will be my second consecutive season as a Field Technician with LMC.
Luis Tirado Hometown: Miami, Florida: I received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a Master’s degree from Texas Tech University in Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildlands Science and Management. I’m interested in the conservation of reptiles and amphibians, specifically threatened or endangered species, so sea turtles are a natural fit. I’m especially interested in sea turtle nesting ecology and movement patterns. This will be my first season working as a Field Technician with LMC.
Ryan Johnson Hometown: Suffield, Connecticut: I received a Bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College in Ecology and Environmental Biology. Marine biology has always been a passion of mine. Recently, I volunteered as a Research Assistant with the Tropical Dolphin Research Foundation in Key West, FL. After researching dolphins, I wanted to further expand my knowledge of sea turtles and assist with conservation efforts along the East Coast. This will be my first season working as a Field Technician with LMC.