TTPP was thrilled to help support travel to the meeting by our favorite “turtlers,” Papa and Mama Tortuga (Fernando Manzano and Irma Galvan Tejada) of Vida Milenaria, thanks to our generous donors! Fernando and Irma were grateful for the opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other sea turtle conservationists from around the globe.
They also really enjoyed seeing Charleston and meeting TTPP Board Member Dr. Mark Roberts’ (University of South Carolina) family and friends, as well as TTPP’s newest board member, Dr. Erin Seney (University of Central Florida). Both of these board members attended the symposium on behalf of their home institutions and were actively involved in the meeting itself. When Board Member Dr. Mark Roberts wasn’t busy judging posters and consulting with other scientists on genetic research, he was happy to show Fernando and Irma around Charleston and introduce them to other turtle loving scientists. Dr. Erin Seney juggled many roles at this year’s meeting, serving as Career Awards Committee Chair and a Nesting Biology Session Co-chair, presenting an oral presentation on Kemp’s ridley population biology and a poster on sea turtle diet, and mentoring several students who were part of a large UCF contingent who presented at the meeting.
TTPP Board Member Scott Kieher also made a brief appearance at the meeting, zipping up from Florida to bring Fernando and Irma south after the symposium. The symposium, which has its roots in the southeastern United States, is now truly international, and the next two years’ symposia are being planned for Columbia and Australia.