Graduate Student Lends Us a Hand While in the Area Collecting Data

Brianna Myre is a graduate student studying reproductive physiology at Southeastern Louisiana University under Dr. Roldan Valverde.  This summer she is collecting blood samples and ultrasound images from adult female loggerheads captured in the intake canal at the St. Lucie Power Plant on Hutchinson Island.  She is working with biologists at Inwater Research Group, Inc. who capture and release sea turtles entrained in the cooling water drawn into the plant.  In her spare time, Brie is helping us scout on our turtle walks and learning how to conduct sea turtle nesting surveys.

For her Master's thesis, Brie is collecting blood samples to measure the reproductive hormones estradiol and testosterone as well as vitellogenin in reproductively active females.  Vitellogenin is a protein used as a nutrient source for the developing embryos.  Brie is using the information gathered from the ultrasounds and hormone levels to describe how the production of vitellogenin is regulated over the course of a nesting season.