Back this Kickstarter to save sea turtles
November 28, 2023
“What people don’t realize, particularly in states where we don’t have them, is that sea turtles play a major role in sustaining ecosystems both in the ocean and on land,” Corinne said. “They’re older than dinosaurs, and we need them.”
The Olive Ridley turtle is a species that visits Ghana in droves. But there is currently no tracker specific to them on the market, so conservationists lack data to effectively support them, Corinne said. With better data, scientists can protect key turtle habitat and nesting sites, manage fisheries to reduce accidental bycatch during turtle migration windows, and more.
This semester, a team of UD engineering students developed a tracker for the Olive Ridley turtle. And where existing satellite-based turtle trackers run about $5K each, the students project they can build this new turtle tracker for only $300 each.
Another team of students has developed the Kickstarter, which will cover costs to protoype the new device.
“There’s no planet B, and we all have a role to play in conserving and preserving our plant and repairing the damage we’ve caused over the years,” Corinne said.
On land, turtles feed the dunes, preventing erosion. In the ocean, they feed on jellyfish, which prevents them from overrunning coral reefs. Eating jellyfish also prevents the jellyfish from decimating local fish populations that coastal communities rely on.
If the Kickstarter is successful, students will build a prototype device next semester and test it in Ohio. Then Corinne and her team will take it to Ghana to test over the summer.