provided to Santiva Chronicle
Join the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to learn about research underway by Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Dr. Justin Perrault and SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan on Dec. 12. They will discuss ongoing research as well as their collaborative study on the 2017-2019 catastrophic red tide event that resulted in the largest number of sea turtle deaths ever attributed to a single red tide event. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for light refreshments, followed by the featured presentation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Titled “After the Tide – Characterizing the Sublethal Effects of a Catastrophic Red Tide on Nesting Sea Turtles,” their study is investigating the effects of the bloom on the health and reproductive success of nesting sea turtles. They are also looking at how the toxin is transferred from the mother to her hatchlings. In addition to learning more about the insidious — or sublethal — effects of red tide blooms on sea turtles, the data will be used to raise awareness and inform policies that promote heightened water quality standards and healthier oceans.
Previous studies have found that seemingly healthy turtles test positive for brevetoxins from red tide without an active bloom and that toxins can remain in the food web for up to one year after the event has dissipated.
Director of Research at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, FL, Dr. Justin Perrault has 13 years of experience working with sea turtles in the laboratory and field. He has published over 25 papers on sea turtle biology, health, and toxicology. Currently, he is an Adjunct Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory and an Affiliate Scientist/Scholar at Florida Atlantic University. He has a BS in Marine Biology from UNC-Wilmington and a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Florida Atlantic University.
SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan also started working with sea turtles 13 years ago — first in Costa Rica and then for six years in South Carolina, where she managed all aspects of the state’s sea turtle conservation program. That program included coordinating more than 30 projects and more than 1,000 volunteers. Since December 2013, she has led SCCF’s sea turtle program, growing its staff, volunteers and research commitments. With a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech, Sloan’s team at SCCF collected 130 blood samples from nesting females and collected 112 dead hatchlings for pathology during the 2019 nesting season to help inform the red tide study.
Admission is $10. Register for tickets here.