Research Internship at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Author: John W. Mahas
Faculty Supervisor: C. Tate Holbrook, Ph.D.
My internship with the research department at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) allowed me to gain valuable experience in conservation management. Each year at the GSTC the patrol team goes out on the beach to collect data on nesting sea turtles. The data collection includes tagging the turtles, collecting skin biopsies, and taking measurements. Two skin biopsies are taken on the sea turtles we encounter. One is for a genetics study to determine the real number of nesting females on our beach (as females can and do return multiple times) and the other is for a PCB study to look at contaminants in their tissues. We will also manage the nests that are laid by the sea turtles and monitor their status daily until the eggs hatch. Once the nest shows signs of emergence we’ll wait for five days to excavate and inventory it (as per GA-DNR protocol).