Marine Turtle Genetics Program Staff

Marine Turtle Genetics Program home page

Amy Frey
Research Biologist
Phone: (858) 546-7154
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Amy.Frey@noaa.gov

Amy Frey is a Research Biologist for the Marine Turtle Genetics Program. She has been with the group for 5 years, and before that worked with the Marine Mammal Genetics Group. She began at the lab in 1997, while earning her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from UCSD. Her current research projects include using mitochondrial DNA as well as microsatellites to look at parentage and relatedness in green turtles nesting on the main Hawaiian Islands, as well as Kemps Ridleys nesting on South Padre Island in Texas. She is also currently participating in assessing genetic stock structure of pacific green turtles.

TopMore Information

Amy Lanci
Research Technician
Phone: (858) 546-5618
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Amy.Jue@noaa.gov

My love for marine biology began when I was in high school. While balancing my regular day to day classes, I managed to take night and summer classes at my local community college. It was there I was able to take college-level marine biology courses in Bahia de Los Angeles, Mexico and was well on my way to pursuing a degree in biology. Later on I attended the University of California, San Diego where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution. Toward the end of my college career, I began working for the Marine Turtle Research Group (now the Marine Turtle Genetics Group and Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Groups) as a part-time student worker. Once I graduated, I started working fulltime and have been ever since. My role in the Marine Turtle Genetics Group utilizes lab techniques such as DNA extraction and Polymerase Chain Reaction to process tissue samples we receive from turtle populations all around the world. The data generated from these lab techniques are used in projects involving stock assessment, fisheries bycatch, multiple paternity analyses and even SNP discovery. I am also involved in the Genetics Lab Core, taking on different DNA extraction projects and helping the Collection Curator whenever I can. My fieldwork consists of studying leatherback turtles in the Caribbean and studying green turtles in San Diego Bay.

TopMore Information

Erin LaCasella
Research Biologist
Phone: (858) 546-5696
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Erin.LaCasella@noaa.gov

While receiving a BS degree in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from University of California, San Diego, Erin joined the Marine Turtle Genetics Program in 2000. Her research primarily focuses on utilizing genetics to assist in the management and conservation of marine turtle populations. When in the laboratory, she works on projects assessing genetic stock structure and identifying fisheries by-catch of most turtle species using mitochondrial DNA. When conducting field work, she assists with capture of green turtles in San Diego Bay and monitoring of leatherback nesting beaches in St Croix, USVI. Erin is the lead aerial survey coordinator for our Central California leatherback research project and has extensive experience conducting aerial surveys for leatherback turtles and marine mammals in central and northern California. She is also responsible for coordinating the importation of marine turtle samples under CITES and assists with marine turtle stranding response in the San Diego vicinity.

TopMore Information

Kelly R. Stewart
Marine Biologist
Phone: (858) 334-2850
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Kelly.Stewart@noaa.gov

Kelly Stewart, Ph.D., is a Marine Biologist with the Marine Turtle Genetics Program. She finished her Ph.D. at Duke University in 2007 and taught college courses in North Carolina before moving west in early 2009 to join SWFSC. She now works on various genetics projects on marine turtles as well as participating in a number of field programs. One major field effort that Kelly leads (in St. Croix, USVI) focuses on genetically fingerprinting hatchling leatherback turtles as they leave the beach after emerging from their nests, for the purpose of determining the age to maturity for leatherbacks. Kelly is also involved in leatherback studies in Florida and along the coast of the Southeastern USA. Her research interests include marine vertebrate ecology and behavior, population dynamics and genetics, biogeography, threatened species biology and conservation and field biology.

TopMore Information

Lisa M. Komoroske
NRC Post-doctoral Fellow
Phone: (858) 546-5617
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: lisa.komoroske@noaa.gov

Lisa Komoroske is a Marine Biologist with the Marine Turtle Genetics Program. She finished her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis and joined SWFSC in 2015. Her current research focuses on conservation and functional genomics, using next generation sequencing to examine fine-scale population structure and adaptive variation in Pacific marine turtles. Lisa previously worked with SWFSC while completing her M.S. at San Diego State University examining pollutant exposure and health of green turtles in San Diego Bay. She then completed her dissertation quantifying climate change impacts on sensitive California coastal fishes. Lisa has continued research interests in conservation genomics, ecophysiology, coastal conservation, ecotoxicology, and global change impacts on coastal and marine species.

TopMore Information

Michael P. Jensen
NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Phone: (858) 546-7089
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Michael.Jensen@noaa.gov

Michael Jensen, Ph.D., is a Marine Biologist with the Marine Turtle Genetics Program. He finished his Ph.D. at the University of Canberra in Australia 2010 and soon after moved to join SWFSC. During his M.Sc. and Ph.D. he has worked on various aspects of marine turtle conservation genetics. He now works on a large scale global assessment of green turtle population structure using molecular markers. The aim of his project is to provide a comprehensive analysis that will define breeding populations and characterize foraging populations of green turtles. This information will form the basis for DPS evaluation of the globally listed green turtle. His research interests include marine vertebrate ecology and behavior, population dynamics and genetics, biogeography, threatened species biology and conservation and field biology.

TopMore Information

Peter Dutton
Program Leader, Marine Turtle Genetics Program
Phone: (858) 546-5636
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Peter.Dutton@noaa.gov

I've been at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center since 1995, where I head the Marine Turtle Genetics Program, and serve as Chair of the Genetics Task Force of the IUCN Sea Turtle Specialist Group. My research interests include the evolution, phylogeography, ecology and conservation biology of marine turtles. I use genetics and satellite telemetry as tools to study the life history, migration and habitat use of sea turtles. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Stirling University in Scotland, I emigrated to Suriname, where I began working with leatherback and green turtles. I have a Master’s degree in Ecology from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D in Zoology from Texas A&M University.

Current projects:

• Developing new genetic markers (microsatellites) for sea turtles

• Molecular Ecology of leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles

• Evaluating incidental take of sea turtles in Pacific fisheries

• Migration, habitat use and dive behavior of leatherbacks, loggerheads and green turtles

• Population biology and conservation of leatherback turtles.

TopMore Information

Robin LeRoux
Biologist
Phone: (858) 546-5659
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Robin.Leroux@noaa.gov

Marine Turtle Genetics and Ecology

Marine Turtle Threats (Fishery Interactions and Strandings)

Strategic Planning and Coordination

TopMore Information

Suzanne Roden
Research Biologist
Phone: (858) 546-5683
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Suzanne.Roden@noaa.gov

My research primarily focuses on the conservation and management of marine turtle populations through the use of conservation genetics. My aim is to assess and characterize marine turtle population structure by the use of nuclear DNA markers. This knowledge can help us better understand the population dynamics of marine turtles and their interactions with fisheries.

Current research projects include:

• Determination of leatherback turtle stock structure using microsatellite DNA markers

• Mixed stock analysis and stock assignment of foraging leatherbacks and bycatch

• Development and use of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in marine turtle genetic studies.

TopMore Information