Wildlife biologist Lauren Cruz is dedicated to the conservation of coastal ecosystems. She is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware and currently having a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation, Agricultural and Natural Resources and a minor in Entomology. Miss Cruz plans to pursue a M.S. in Marine Science. She attended the Brown University Environmental Leadership Lab on the Big Island of Hawai’i and participated in several projects in different wildlife fields while at the University of Delaware. During her summers, she worked at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center where she lead kayak tours and taught visiting groups about the marsh ecosystem and its inhabitants.
As part of our series on ‘life as research scientist’ we approached Miss Cruz with our questions, and here we have the answers about her research and others:
Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?
Lauren Cruz: I am currently working with The Leatherback Trust which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of leatherbacks and other sea turtle species. My team monitors the nesting ecology of leatherback, black and olive ridley sea turtles in Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas (Leatherback National Marine Park) in Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Paying special attention to leatherbacks, we are adding to 20 years of continuous sea turtle data on this beach. Many biologists have conducted research on this beach and have filled many gaps in our understanding of leatherback ecology. Some examples include finding the incubation temperature at which sex is determined for leatherbacks, placing transmitters on leatherbacks to see where they migrate to after egg laying as well as monitoring the temperatures and possible effects climate change can have on turtle nesting. The leatherback population has dropped by about 98% since the start of the project. (more…)