Sea Turtles & Oil Spills

March 23, 2017 – Brownsville, TX

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In late March 2017, more than 100 attendees gathered in person and online to listen to leaders in oil spill science, emergency response, animal rescue, and natural resource management share their knowledge and experience related to the impacts of oil spills on sea turtles. Check out the event’s flyer here and the day’s agenda here.

Texas Sea Grant oil spill science specialist Chris Hale opened the day with an overview of what to expect and a description of the Gulf of Mexico-wide initiative by Sea Grant to share oil spill science. See a video of her talk here.

Dr. Nathan Putman, a scientist with NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, spoke about predicting the movement of oceanic sea turtles using computer models. See a video of Dr. Putman’s presentation here.

Dr. Tracy Collier shared the Natural Resource Damage Assessment’s (NRDA) findings on the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on sea turtles. Dr. Collier is retired from NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where he was Director of Environmental Conservation Division, and is currently a technical adviser and consultant. View a video Dr. Collier’s presentation here.

Dr. Charles Caillouet spoke about causes of the 2010 nesting decline of Kemp’s ridleys in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Caillouet retired from the NOAA Fisheries Service and is now a marine fisheries scientist and conservation volunteer. View Dr. Caillouet’s talk here.

Dr. Donna Shaver, Chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at the Padre Island National Seashore, spoke about female adult Kemp’s ridley foraging areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Benny Gallaway, President of LGL Ecological Research Associates, Inc., talked about the population status of Kemp’s ridleys after the Deepwater horizon oil spill. Watch a video of Dr. Galloway’s presentation here.

Dr. Patrick M. Burchfield, Executive Director of the Gladys Porter Zoo, discussed the Binational Kemp’s Ridley Project and the Zoo’s related sea turtle efforts and programs. See Dr. Birchfield’s talk here.

Gary Graham, Texas Sea Grant Fishery Specialist and Turtle Excluder Device (TED) expert, spoke about his career working with shrimp fisheries and implementing TED programs. View Graham’s presentation here.

Gonzalo Pena spoke about his role as Natural Resources Specialist with Texas General Land Office’s Oil Spill Prevention & Response Division. See Gonzalo’s talk here.

Jeff George, Executive Director of Sea Turtle Inc., spoke about his organizations efforts in rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. View a video of George’s talk here.

After the seminar, the presenters from the second half of the day–(l-r) Gonzalo Pena, Gary Graham, and Jeff George plus Gladys Porter Zoo’s Curator of Conservation Programs Jaime Pena–answered audience questions about the current state of sea turtle conservation in the wake of Deepwater Horizon. View this discussion here.