Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

The ACCSTR has a very active graduate student program with students from a number of departments at the University of Florida. The involvement of graduate students in our research ensures that, while answering critical questions in sea turtle biology, we are also educating future sea turtle biologists and conservationists.

Examples of the type of research conducted by ACCSTR graduate students can be seen in the following link: Theses and Dissertations of the ACCSTR

Graduate Students

Nerine Constant

Email: nconstant@ufl.edu
Department of Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Nerine is interested in the effects of human activities on the roles of sea turtles in marine ecosystems. In particular, she would like to investigate how green turtle foraging impacts the structure and function of seagrass ecosystems and alters seagrass responses to anthropogenic nutrient inputs. Nerine is also interested in how coastal development influences sea turtle habitat use and foraging behavior.

gulickAlexandra G. Gulick

Email: alexandra.gulick@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Alexandra is interested in the ecological roles of sea turtles in tropical seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. More specifically, Alexandra studies the foraging and behavioral ecology of green turtles and wants to evaluate the potential impacts of increased grazing pressure on seagrass ecosystem function and community dynamics.

Robert JohnsonRobert Johnson

Email: johnson.robert@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Robert is interested in the role that sea turtles play in their habitats. In particular, he is interested in their impacts at the ecosystem level, and he is studying how green turtle foraging influences carbon and nitrogen dynamics in tropical seagrass systems. Robert is also interested in differences in growth dynamics between populations of juvenile sea turtles.

Jame McCrayJame McCray

Email: jame.mccray@gmail.com
Department: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Major Professor: Ray Carthy

Jame’s research focuses on the efficacy of wildlife legislation and management in Florida. She is examining sea turtle protection laws as a test case for creating effective policy through adaptive management and structured decision making.

Mariela PajueloMariela Pajuelo

Email: mpajuelo@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Mariela is studying the foraging ecology of loggerhead turtle populations in the Atlantic. Using a combination of stable isotope analysis and satellite telemetry, she aims to identify the foraging areas of adult and juvenile loggerhead turtles. She is also interested in understanding how environmental changes can affect sea turtle populations.

Joe PfallerJoe Pfaller

Email: jpfaller@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Joe is interested in the ecology and evolution of marine reptiles and their epibiotic symbionts. Joe’s dissertation research focuses on the rafting crabs of the genus Planes, which often live associated with oceanic-stage sea turtles. His goals are to understand the evolution of these crabs, and to investigate the role that sea turtles play in their global distribution and mating behavior. Joe is also the Research Director of the Caretta Research Project, a long-term project on the nesting population of loggerhead turtles on Wassaw Island, Georgia, USA.

Rogerio FerreiraRogério Ferreira

Email: coriacea@gmail.com
Faculty of Science and Technology
University of Algarve, Portugal

Rogerio’s research is centered at Principe Island, a recent UNESCO Biodiversity Reserve in West Africa. By using several methodologies (nesting and in-water census, telemetry and isotopic and genetic analyses), in collaboration with other researchers, he aims to gain understanding on the distribution and abundance of the sea turtle populations in this region, including their connectivity with other foraging and breeding areas. As an overall goal, Rogerio hopes to contribute to the conservation of sea turtles in the region.

Luciano Soares e SoaresLuciano Soares e Soares

Email: lsoares@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Major Professor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Luciano’s research focuses on the biology of loggerhead / hawksbill hybrids in Brazil, in particular their foraging ecology, reproductive output, and migratory patterns. His goal is to understand the consequences of hybridization on sea turtle populations.

Marco SantosMarco Santos

Email: msantos@uac.pt
University of the Azores, Portugal

Marco is studying the movements and distribution patterns of oceanic juvenile loggerheads in the waters around the Azores. Marco is using satellite telemetry and remote sensing technologies.


ACCSTR Postdoctoral Fellow

Marco GarciaMarco Garcia

Email: marcogarcia@ufl.edu
Department: Biology
Postdoctoral Supervisor: Karen A. Bjorndal

Marco is a Fulbright Fellow. His work focuses on understanding feeding habitat use and post-reproductive behavior in the reproductive population of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at Isla de Aves, Venezuela, determined through stable isotope analysis. His research interests have focused on questions about how to promote conservation of sea turtles through ecology, genetics and demography.