Dr. David Duffy Awarded Grant from Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program to Study Health Impacts in Florida's Young Turtles
Published: Monday, October 4, 2021
The Whitney Laboratory is pleased to announce that Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Genomics and Rising Star Condron Family Endowed Assistant Professor Dr. David Duffy received a grant for $26,355 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded by the sales of the sea turtle specialty license plate. He received the grant for a project to study the health impacts of near-ubiquitous plastic ingestion in Florida’s young turtles.
The project will investigate the incidence and health effects of the large scale plastic ingestion seen in post-hatchling and juvenile sea turtles. Dr. Duffy and colleagues have recently shown that 96% of post-hatchling sea turtles stranded in north Florida have ingested plastic marine debris. This is particularly concerning as young hatchling and post-hatchling sea turtles are at the most vulnerable life-stage. Plastic ingestion can likely produce a range of negative health consequences which we will be assessed, including: gastrointestinal tract rupture; inflammation; ulceration; blockage; compaction; nanoplastic and leeched chemicals entering the blood stream and internal organs.
Dr. David Duffy was chosen for the award through a competitive application process that is open to coastal county governments, educational institutions and Florida-based nonprofit groups striving to improve the livelihood of sea turtles and conserve Florida habitats.
Launched in 1996, the "Helping Sea Turtles Survive" specialty license plate raises money for two important programs that benefit Florida sea turtles—the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Turtle Protection Program and the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which distributes money back to the local level for turtle conservation projects.
To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the "Helping Sea Turtles Survive" specialty license plate, visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.