Hi everyone, My name is Eva and I am a second year undergraduate studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Essex.
I always loved turtles growing up and thought that they are fascinating because we don't really know much about what they do in between leaving the beach and then returning to lay eggs themselves. I am so excited about this project because I will be working with such beautiful creatures by learning more about their species and their ecological interactions, I can assist in their conservation.
I am trying to raise £1000 so that I can complete my dissertation project which questions:
Does artificially feeding turtles increase interspecific interactions between turtles (Caretta caretta) and fish?
Artificial feeding is where food is added to the environment that is not found there naturally. This occurs in Argostoli where fishermen and tourists throw discarded fish bits into the waters for turtles to feed on. This seems to be benefiting the turtles and allows fishermen to make close bonds with individual animals; there is even an example of where the turtles let humans stroke their heads without offering a food reward.
This behaviour also attracts tourists who take pictures and then want to know more about the species and what they can do to help them. Although this interaction may seem positive, what I want to know is how this affects other species in the environment. What are the implications of this for the behaviour and abundance of turtles and the density and diversity of fish that have learnt about this extra artificial feeding.
Whilst collecting the data for my project, I am also helping with long term monitoring of the turtles with the company Wildlife Sense in Argostoli, Kefalonia. Some of my responsibilities will include recording food sources, behaviour and sexing.
Minimum Target: £900
Travel and flights: £300
Project cost for 4 weeks (includes accommodation, food, equipment, aid and advice from scientific researchers): £620
Kit and Equipment: £80
If i reach my stretch goal of £1200, it will be used for better quality equipment and future turtle research.
I would be extremely grateful if you could donate any amount of money towards helping this vulnerable species! Even if you can't donate, helping me by promoting my crowdfunding page will also be really appreciated.
If you would like to know more about this please visit www.wildlifesense.com and please feel free to contact me by email if you have any questions at all about myself or my project and any further information:)
I also have a Facebook page set up for my project. I will be updating it throughout my project to show everyone how their money is being used. It will include lots of pictures so I suggest having a look once my project starts in July!