Elizabeth Whitman

Graduate Student


  PhD 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).

    What are the drivers of green turtle habitat use in nearshore waters of Abaco, Bahamas?

  What is the influence of green turtle foraging on tidal creek lagoon seagrass communities?

  Does green turtle foraging suppress or facilitate the invasion of the Indian Ocean seagrass Halophila stipulacea?

    Western Atlantic

  Abaco Islands, Bahamas

  French Antilles

    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.

    Supervises undergraduate lab and field and interns as project assistants and on their individual research projects.

  Works closely with the non-profit Friends of the Environment to lead annual sea turtle field courses and give presentations to summer camps and school classrooms in Abaco, Bahamas.

  Technical Advisory Board member and supervisor for The Science Exchange – a non-profit organization connecting students with international, field-based sea turtle research internships.