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 2016-2017 nesting season. Together, we're creating a future for sea turtles.
What attracted you to this field position?
I am biologist at heart, I’ve always wanted to learn more about the world in which we live. Wanting to broaden my scientific knowledge, I joined the long-term monitoring project in Costa Rica. I have always wanted to work with large reptiles, sea turtles especially. In the past, I have worked with salamanders in streams and high-altitude ponds. This new opportunity with The Leatherback Trust has allowed me to learn more about a different ecosystem and species. There is no better way to learn about conservation biology, than doing it everyday in the field.
Describe your typical day on the job.
There is nothing typical about a field biologist’s day. I wake up in the late morning, after eating breakfast we knock out some beach work or take volunteers to activities. Beach work includes locating nests with a triangulation, recording temperatures, checking the hatchery for baby turtles and talking with locals and tourists as public outreach.
Next, a quick recovery in the AC from the hot beach before we head to dinner, the night is where the majority of the fun occurs. I spend 6+ hours on the beach at night walking and looking for turtles. When we come across a turtle nesting we spring into action and record crucial data. Count eggs, mark location, take length and width of the turtle while explaining information to visiting tourist and volunteers. After the night patrol we head back to the station in the early hours of the morning. I like to sum up the work to “Eat, Sleep, Walk” I wouldn’t change anything about it. I absolutely love this work.
What is the best part of your job?
Getting to work with these ancient giants is by far the best part of my job. Knowing that these turtles have been on earth longer than I have is really eye-opening. I enjoy every moment of work, no matter how tiring or hot it can be. I love the fact I get to work with students and volunteers educating them about science, getting people some hands on experience can be really impactful. I believe conservation needs the public and local peoples’ in order to be successful.
How has your experience inspired you?
This experience has encouraged me to further pursue turtle research. It is my goal to study sea turtles for my Masters degree and into my future. Never having lived by the ocean, I have found a new love for the marine ecosystems. Being surrounded by a wonderful team and working with incredible animals has given me a new perspective. Everyday I am on the beach I also see the impacts of humans on our planet. The amount of plastic and trash that gets washed up is astonishing. I will forever be changed to consciously think about the things I use in everyday life and where they may end up. It is never too late to change daily habits to help the environment, we only have one Earth so we better make it count.
What has been the funniest moment thus far?
It is difficult picking one moment that is the funniest. It’s a draw between the impromptu dance parties, riding out the hurricane, learning how to make a fart noise while laying flat on the ground, and the occasional crossing dressing fashion show. In the end we always manage to have fun in between the important conservation work.
Describe Costa Rica in three words.
Fun, diverse, and conservation!