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SCCF to host ‘Evenings at the Homestead’

By Staff | Nov 22, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Loggerhead Marinelife Center Director of Research Dr. Justin Perrault will take part in the SCCF “Evenings at the Homestead: Sea Turtle Research Collaboration” on Dec. 12. He is pictured measuring an albino sea turtle.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will host “Evenings at the Homestead: Sea Turtle Research Collaboration” on Dec. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the pavilion at the Bailey Homestead Preserve.

SCCF Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan and Dr. Justin Perrault, director of research at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, will discuss ongoing research, as well as their collaborative study on the 2017-2019 red tide event that resulted in the largest number of turtle deaths ever attributed to a single event.

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 also are looking at how the toxin is transferred from the mother to her hatchlings. In addition to learning more about the 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.

Sloan started working with sea turtles 13 years ago – first in Costa Rica and then for six years in South Carolina, where she managed the state’s sea turtle conservation program. The program included coordinating over 30 projects and more than 1,000 volunteers. Since 2013, Sloan has led SCCF’s sea turtle program, growing its staff, volunteers and research commitments. With a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech, her team 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.

Perrault also 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, Perrault is an adjunct scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory and an affiliate scientist/scholar at Florida Atlantic University. He has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from UNC-Wilmington and a doctorate in integrative biology from Florida Atlantic University.

Light refreshments will be available at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com.

For more information, contact the SCCF at 239-472-2329.

The Bailey Homestead Preserve is at 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.