PhD Research on Sea Turtles

$11,663 of $75k goal

Raised by 314 people in 14 months

I am a second year Marine Biology PhD student with Texas A&M University doing research on sea turtles in Costa Rica.

Recently, a video I posted showing a straw being removed from a sea turtle's nostril received worldwide attention.
This sea turtle is just one example of many.
No biologist, regardless of his or her location, is actively seeking out injured wildlife as seen in my video. But we are on the front-lines of reality looking at thousands of animals and we are consistently witnessing the by-products of human consumerism, and its consequences.

There are many more things we want to do and CAN do, but funding is difficult to come by, and there are consequences to this fact.
People forget that in order to protect any species effectively, this protection must be based on observations of the species' biology, ecology, and behaviour.

Many people asked me how they could support my work after seeing the video or where they could donate and it inspired me to launch this campaign to ask for funding to continue my research to reveal the secrets of sea turtles and protect them and their habitat. 

Over the course of the next three years I will visit numerous sites worldwide to discover important mating strategies and foraging habitats of sea turtles and investigate alternative reproductive behaviours of sea turtles.
My findings will help inform conservation management plans and help to ensure that sea turtles continue to swim freely in our oceans for generations to come. Your funds will help to pay for my research and fees, as well as provide essential equipment for this study.


Coming across injured sea turtles in our line of work is very common. So after talking to my university veterinarian about the incident we have come up with the idea to develop a first-aid kit for sea turtles together with a guide-book and a training, which researchers can take with them into the field, when they are working on studies with sea turtles in remote areas. The first aid kit would be for cases like ours where a sea turtle is found with injuries or foreign objects attached to them, such as fishing hooks or fishing line or -as in in our case - a straw, and medical attention is unavailable or too far away. I will use money from this GoFundMe campaign to develop the first-aid kit together with our vet.


Plastic Pollution Coalition launched a "No Straw" campaign in collaboration with us in November 2015.

Have a look and take the No-Straw Pledge here:


Research @ Texas A&M has produced a video telling our story. Enjoy!
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Update 11
1 month ago

Only a few weeks after a female was found by our research team entangled in fishing-line (, we found another female during the synchronized mass-nesting in Ostional this August, also badly entangled in discarded fishing-line (also called ghost net) with her front flipper.
The female was found while nesting and had dragged a bulk of fishing net up the beach with her, including a 1kg lead weight.
Parts of the net were wrapped around her right front flipper and had started to cut into the flesh. Luckily circulation didn't seem to haven been cut off and she was able to move her flipper normally, so we cut off the line and disinfected the cut with iodine.
Given our knowledge of the scarcity of sea turtle rehab facilities and lack of expert care for injured sea turtles in Costa Rica, the decision we are usually facing is either leaving the animal as is or trying to help as much as we can by removing obstructing objects.

As biologists we don't actively seek out injured wildlife, but our research happens to position us at the front-lines of reality looking at the detrimental effects of human impact on wildlife.

At this point I would like to thank again everyone that donated to my GoFundMe Campaign (! Without you this field season wouldn't have been possible and we wouldn't have been to the right time at the right place to help again. Thank you!
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Update 10
2 months ago

Almost exactly one year ago my research team found an olive ridley turtle with a plastic drinking straw embedded in its nose.
Two days ago we found another olive ridley turtle in distress. A female was severely entangled in a bulk of ghost net and we had to cut her lose.
The video can be seen here.
Sea Turtle Entangled in GhostNet Rescued
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Update 9
2 months ago

More news from the field. If you would like to know what we have been up to the past two weeks, have a look at our new blog post.!Field-Freezer-Explained-and-More-Updates/j2hz9/5792c7330cf2779eabf49602
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Update 8
3 months ago

Our field season has officially started and we just spent our first week on the boat in Costa Rica. If you are interested in reading more about our work, check out our blog entry.!First-Week-on-the-Boat/j2hz9/577ff7970cf21e6e1ebe22a5
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Read a Previous Update
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$11,663 of $75k goal

Raised by 314 people in 14 months
Created August 14, 2015
8 days ago
10 days ago

Precision Products Group, Inc. / Aardvark Paper Drinking Straws is proud to continue our support of your efforts. This payment represents 15% of our sea turtle print straw sales for Q3 2016. Thank you for all that you do.

Emily Beck
1 month ago
Karla Lato
1 month ago
1 month ago
Alicia Carrillo
2 months ago
John Dimatos
2 months ago
Ben Harris
2 months ago

Keep up the great work!

Barbara Futter
2 months ago
Gray Russell
2 months ago

Please keep up the good work, and thank you for doing this work.

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