We study marine organisms that play vital roles in the ecosystem and local economy such as hawksbill sea turtles in Central America. Hawksbill sea turtles are long lived animals who play important roles in maintaining coral reef health, by eating sponges that would otherwise compete with coral for resources. We have worked with local organizations in Central America to study their health since 2013. We are now starting a new project with sea turtles: sequencing their microbiome, or the entire community of microbes that live on and in them. We are partnering with a long list of nonprofits, zoos, aquariums, and rehabilitation centers in order to do wide ranging study so we can compare the microbiomes of turtles at our study sites with turtles from other species and environments.
For more information on our programs, please visit our blogs on the subject.