Internship: Applied Wildlife Conservation Practices
Authors: Nicole DeSha
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. C. Tate Holbrook
My internship with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center allowed me to experience conservation management at the species level and the habitat level. Every year, thousands of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nests are laid on Georgia’s sandy beaches. Nightly encounters of nesting females along with genetic sampling help to establish a better understanding of the population size, trends, and distribution of this endangered species. As urban sprawl and development encroaches into coastal regions, it becomes increasingly important to manage vulnerable species and maintain unique habitat types. Maritime grasslands are increasing in rarity and are often home to many species whose numbers are declining throughout their range. The use of prescribed fire to maintain low vegetation and prevent hardwoods from creating a canopy has the potential to save an imperiled habitat and the increasingly rare animals that depend upon it.