Breakthrough research method for sea turtles

Ailys Toledo/Contributing Writer

Katherine Mansfield, a visiting research associate to the School of Environment, Arts and Society, will be discussing the life and history of the ocean’s most precious creature: the sea turtle.
SEAS will feature Mansfield as part of the Eat, Think and Be Merry Series on Tuesday, April 16 in its lecture “FOUND: The Sea Turtle’s Lost Years.”
From the time a baby sea turtle hatches until it makes its way to the sea, the migration stage of a young turtle is an extremely tumultuous period. A hatchling’s struggle to make it to the sea is a difficult and poignant journey—one filled with the constant threat of predators from every source. From fish to raccoons, to footprints and debris along the shoreline, almost anything can deter the way of the baby sea turtles. Not much is known of the whereabouts of the hatchlings once they safely reach the sea, only the difficulties these animals have in getting there.
Mansfield’s lecture will highlight the current involvement and research methods being used in the study of sea turtles and their quests to make it home.
Mansfield began her work with sea turtles in 1994. Originally, Mansfield intended to work with coral reefs and seagrass beds. While participating in her first internship with the Conservancy of South Florida in Naples, the young researcher took up seasonal jobs on nesting beaches. Since then, she has targeted her research to sea turtles, specifically creating a solar-powered satellite to help scientists track the hatchlings after reaching the sea.
“My goal in this event is to provide fun, interesting, new information on sea turtle ecology and to broaden folks’ understanding of sea turtle conservation in the Atlantic,” said Mansfield.
“What made Kate more appealing to us was all her previous work for NOAA. She’s been a visiting research associate for about two years; half of her research is run out of FIU and the other half is run out of NOAA. The purpose of these events is really to open up a community forum, rather than preach to the choir,” said Elaine Pritzker, SEAS event coordinator.
Pritzker said South Florida locals need to get involved by getting informed.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Luna Star Café located at 775 NE 125th St. in North Miami, Florida 33161.