Project Participants - SCDNR MRD
Mike Arendt has been the fourth Principal Investigator of this program since May 2007. Mike holds a BS in Biology from the Virginia Military Institute, a MS in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary/VIMS, and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina. Mike was hired by the SCDNR MRD to provide seasonal assistance to this research program during its first year of operation. Prior to his current employment Mike was a 'fish guy', and he credits SCDNR with his first opportunity to work with and study sea turtles.
Jeff Schwenter provides analytical and logistical support (notably as a Chief Scientist) to the in-water research program. Jeff holds a BS in Biology from Lake Superior State University and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Jeff was originally hired in 2008 to assess mercury concentrations in archived tissue samples, and has applied his laboratory skills by assisting Dr. David Owens with testosterone radioimmunoassays since 2009. Jeff has also provided invaluable statistical assistance since 2010.
Dr. Al Segars
Dr. Al Segars began assisting the in-water research program during its first year of operation and served as its third Principal Investigator (March 2005 to April 2007) prior to becoming the Stewardship Coordinator for the ACE Basin NERR. Dr. Segars holds a BS in Biology from Clemson University and a DVM from the University of Georgia. Dr. Segars continues to serve as a sounding board with regards to health assessments and animal welfare.
J. David Whitaker
J. David Whitaker was the original Principal Investigator for this program through 2002, and holds a BS in Biology from Georgia Southwestern College and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Despite his responsibilities as the Assistant Deputy Director for the Marine Resources Division, David has remained engaged in this program through his reviews of manuscripts and as a participant in periodic discussions about future program direction.
Dany Burgess holds a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a MS in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. Dany has provided crucial field support since 2008, notably through her reliable collection and processing of sea turtle blood samples. Dany has also been instrumental in improving documentation of invertebrates collected as bycatch.
S. Michelle Pate
S. Michelle Pate holds a BS in Biology and a MS in Environmental Studies, both from the College of Charleston. Michelle has been a fixture in the South Carolina sea turtle community for the last decade, both through volunteer work and as a seasonal hire for the South Carolina Aquarium and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Coinciding with her stint as a Section Leader for sea turtle nesting surveys on Folly Beach, Michelle has also provided crucial field support for the in-water research program since 2009.
Jessica Johnson holds a BS in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University and soon a MS in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. Jessica has provided crucial logistical support since 2009 through her assistance with field work preparations and extensive participation with data collection at sea, where her reliable blood sample collection and processing skills are appreciated.
Jesse Alderson holds a BS in Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Jesse first assisted the in-water research program as a graduate student in 2008, and characterized injuries afflicting loggerhead sea turtles captured in this program through 2009 for her thesis work. Jesse’s continued participation greatly assists in new crew training, particularly with respect to sample processing.
Eric Hiltz holds a BS in Biology from the University of Kentucky and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Eric has assisted the in-water research program since 2010, predominantly through participation in research cruises by recording data and measuring and tagging sea turtles.
Phil Maier served as the second Principal Investigator for this program from 2002 until 2005, and is credited with streamlining data recording, fostering the development of the relational data base for the program, and preparing the first program Final Report. Phil holds a BS in Biology from East Stroudsburg University and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Phil continues to assist this research program as the SCDNR MRD media liaison.
Julia Byrd assisted the in-water research program as a Chief Scientist between 2008 and 2012, but provided field assistance to the program since 2003. Julia holds a BS in Biology from Wake Forest University and a MS in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. Julia has also assisted with sea turtle nesting monitoring as a seasonal employee at the Bald Head Island Conservancy and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, and as a volunteer on Folly Beach.
We also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Bruce Stender, SCDNR (retired), who was the first field supervisor for the project through 2001, and on whose shoulders fell the responsibility of working out the logistics of collecting data in a multi-vessel, regional trawl survey.
Additionally, numerous personnel from the SEAMAP program and Vessel Operations have provided crucial logistical support at sea as well as on land. Jeff Jacobs is the first captain on the RV Lady Lisa and has participated in annual surveys during every season since program inception. Robert Schrimpf has participated in annual surveys as the second captain on the RV Lady Lisa since 2006. We are also grateful to the following captains for their contributions over the years: Mike Schwartz (retired), Randy Beatty, Rob Dunlap, Tom Salisbury, the late Paul Tucker, and the late Gary Miller. Pearse Webster (SEAMAP) has been steadfast in his support through amicable scheduling and coordinating activities on land as needs arise. We also thank the following individuals for their assistance as seasonal deckhands: Jamie Williams, Todd Beser, Chris Kalinowsky, T.J. McKenzie, Brian Casey, Stephen Carmody, Brooks Charles, Robert Truex, Justin Fritchel, Lee Weller, Kristina Thompson, Siobahn Scott, Brian Walls, Ezra Lily, Henry DeVega, Brooke James, Jeremy Grigsby, Stephen Czwartacki, Daryl Weldon, Logan Bonner, Justin Greenman, Patrick Gerken, and John Dupre.