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2022 Service-Learning Symposium: Internship at UGA Marine Extension Coastal Ecology Lab

Internship at UGA Marine Extension Coastal Ecology Lab

Author: Joshua Billings

Faculty Supervisor: C. Tate Holbrook, Ph.D.

Community Partner: UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Coastal Ecology Lab

Abstract:

The UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Coastal Ecology Lab contributes to the persistence of healthy native ecosystems and their resident wildlife populations through the field of applied conservation. During my internship this summer, I worked with the Coastal Ecology Lab to mitigate the effects of surface mining operations on wildlife in Southeast Georgia. We focused on removing gopher tortoises from pre-mining sites and safely relocating them to other locations where they could be monitored. The gopher tortoise is listed as a threatened species in the state of Georgia, and protecting viable populations is important in preventing them from being listed under the Endangered Species Act in the eastern part of its range. My time spent with the lab has given me great experience in applied research and taught me a variety of valuable skills that will benefit me in my future. This internship has helped me clarify my academic goals and strengthened my desire to pursue a career in conservation and ecology.