Commitment to Conservation
Schmidt College of Science alumnus Jeff Guertin, M.S. ’10, has been a biologist with Inwater Research Group in Jensen Beach since a mere few days after successfully defending his thesis.
His main job responsibilities are to safely capture, measure, tag, perform health assessments and release sea turtles back to the wild from a long-standing research site in St. Lucie County. Additionally, he also conducts sea turtle research in various sites throughout the state, including the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Worth Lagoon, the Big Bend region of Florida, and more.
“My biggest aspiration is to bring conservation to the forefront by combining science and education to make real changes in the world,” said Guertin.
During his time at Florida Atlantic, Guertin gained hands-on experience not only with sea turtles, but also with the development, planning and execution of a scientific project. He completed a translocation study with loggerhead sea turtle eggs, where he re-located eggs from the east coast of Florida to the west coast and vice versa. Once the eggs hatched, Guertin monitored the hatchlings’ swimming activity for six days to see if there were any differences between hatchlings incubated on different coasts from which the eggs were deposited.
Guertin came to FAU with a general interest in animal behavior and marine biology, and Michael Salmon, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, was an animal behaviorist working with sea turtles.
“[Salmon’s] overall enthusiasm for science and sharing that experience with his students was immeasurable,” Guertin expressed.
Guertin shared that his passion for sea turtles stems from the fact that sea turtles are amazingly resilient animals.
“Seeing how many turtle populations have rebounded after conservation efforts have been implemented gives me hope that we can do this on a much larger scale,” stated Guertin.
As for overall conservation efforts of sea turtles, their habitats and the ocean, Guertin stressed that you don’t have to be a scientist to make a difference.
“Everyone can have an impact,” stated Guertin. “Small things add up and can create a genuine change for good around the globe.”