IU Southeast students track endangered sea turtles in Egypt

27th October 2010

NEW ALBANY, IN (Oct. 27, 2010) – Several Indiana University Southeast students and their professors made their way to Africa this past summer to research two different species of endangered animals.

The IU Southeast Field Biology course traveled to the Red Sea coast of Egypt to work with Egyptian rangers, attaching satellite transmitters to endangered green sea turtles. Preservation of these specific turtles is important as they are key components of the marine ecosystem.

As a main attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers, the green sea turtles also attract tourists to the Red Sea coast, an area that relies heavily on tourism for the local economy. In addition to studying the green sea turtles, students also researched the endangered Dorca Gazelle.

Principal investigators for this trip included Tamer Mahmoud and IU Southeast professor Omar Attum. Other leaders included botanist David Winship Taylor and SCUBA expert Jon Norman, both from IU Southeast.

IU Southeast graduate student Beth Boesche-Taylor, a teacher at Scottsburg New Tech High School, and the faculty in the biology program at IU Southeast used the up-to-date data gathered by students in their classes this semester.

The IU Southeast Field Biology course offers students the opportunity to travel to different regions of the world to study tropical land and marine ecology. The sea turtle mission was the first time the program sent a group to Africa. In previous explorations, they have visited Tahiti, Belize, and several Caribbean Islands. The course is only offered in the spring.

Updated data is posted on http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=536. For more information about the biology department or future areas of study, contact Jon Norman at jnorman@ius.edu.

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