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Elizabeth Whitman

Marine Scientist


Research Locations: Western Atlantic; Abaco Islands, Bahamas; French Antilles

Ph.D. student, Florida International University

Elizabeth Whitman is interested in the foraging ecology and in-water behavior of marine turtles. She is studying the top-down and bottom-up factors that may affect green turtle (Chelonia mydas) distributions through surveys of habitat, food availability, and predators using unmanned aerial videos (UAVs), in-water assessments and baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVs).

Research

  • Conducting the first quantitative assessment of shark abundance and distribution in green turtle foraging habitats in Abaco, Bahamas.
  • Explicitly testing whether Caribbean green turtle foraging distributions reflect a tradeoff between risk and energy intake or if foraging considerations alone determine spatial variation in turtle densities.
  • Investigating the effects of grazing on factors such as seagrass community composition, canopy height, shoot density, nutrient content and productivity.
  • Elucidating the role of grazers – particularly green turtles – on in the spread of the invasive seagrass species Halophile stipulacea.
  • Publications

Education

  • M.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, USA
  • B.A. Communications, Purdue University, Indiana, USA