Meet Our Field Biologists: Lindsay McKenna

Have you ever wondered what daily life is like for a sea turtle biologist? We invite you to meet our sea turtle biologists!

We are so grateful for the many sandy miles our biologists walked at all hours of the night during the 2015-2016 nesting season. Together, we're creating a future for sea turtles. 

Learn about more opportunities to get involved.

Lindsay McKenna

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

Degree: Masters of Science in Biology from Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne

What attracted you to this field position?

Growing up in Indiana, I was never really introduced to the marine biology world. The ocean was always a vacation spot and a huge treat. I was always interested in marine life, but never thought about studying it. My senior year of high school, I traveled to Playa Grande for a marine biology class where we learned about the sea turtles. I fell in love with the turtles, the research, the beaches, the stars, and all the biodiversity. During that trip, I decided that this is what I wanted to do. I was so attracted to this field position that I worked on and off for the last few years and even conducted my Master's research here. 

Tell us a little bit about your research. 

My research focused on the vocalizations of sea turtle hatchlings and embryos. I recorded embryos and hatchlings in the nest to observe and characterize their vocalIzations while they incubated, hatched, and emerged from the nest. 

What's the best part of your job?

The best part of the job is education. It is so much fun working with the Earthwatch volunteers, school groups, and general public to educate them about the sea turtles and other animals found on the beach and in the area. Nothing beats being with someone as they see their first sea turtle (especially their first leatherback)! We can educate the volunteers on the turtle's behavior, but watching them experience it for the first time is so rewarding!  

How is Costa Rica different than your home country? 

Costa Rica is different than the United States because it is a lot more laid back. People seem to be more appreciative of everything they have and the beautiful environment around them. Also, there is a lot more soccer playing on the beach, which is a plus! 

If you were a sea turtle, what kind would you be?

I would be a leatherback simply because they are just so impressive!