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Chiari and Glaberman To Receive Funding For Project Aimed At Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles

Ylenia Chiari, Assistant Professor, Biology, and Scott Glaberman, Assistant Professor/Associate Chair for Research, Environmental Science and Policy, Faculty Fellow, Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC), are set to receive funding to study the Kemp's ridley—the most endangered sea turtle in the world.  

The researchers have two objectives for their study. 

The first is to determine whether repeated cycles of severe population decline have drastically reduced genetic variation of Kemp's ridley sea turtles. Genetic variation is one of the key predictors of whether a species will go extinct. 

The second is to determine how genetic data can inform conservation strategies and head start breeding programs. 

The unique approach of this project is that it uses turtle museum samples from the last 150 years to better understand how the history of population fluctuations in Kemp’s ridley sea turtles can be used to predict the future of this species amidst the threats of climate change, poaching, and habitat loss. 

The researchers hold that their project will transform scientific understanding of the most endangered sea turtle in the world and will represent the most comprehensive conservation genetics study of Kemp's ridley turtles to date. 

 The researchers will receive $26,094 from The Eppley Foundation for Research, Inc., for this project. Funding will begin in September 2021 and will end in September 2022.