Staff

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.


Jeffrey Seminoff
Program Leader, Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program
Phone: (858) 546-7152
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Jeffrey.Seminoff@noaa.gov



Dr. Jeffrey Seminoff is a Marine Ecologist and Leader of the Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program. He is Adjunct Faculty at Indiana-Purdue University and University of Florida, is an active member of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group, and is deeply involved with USFWS/NMFS efforts to update marine turtle status assessments for the US Endangered Species Act. Seminoff’s current research uses innovative approaches such as stable isotope analyses, biotelemetry, animal-borne imagery, and aerial surveys to elucidate the life history of marine turtles throughout the Pacific Ocean. In addition to research, he is involved with numerous marine conservation initiatives and is an Editor for the scientific journals Chelonian Conservation and Biology and Endangered Species Research. He is also a Section Editor for Ciencias Marinas and on the Editorial Board for Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter.

Suzanne Roden
Research Biologist
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
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. In addition to molecular research, I participate in a number of sea turtle conservation activities, including aerial surveys; nesting beach protection; and the capture, biological sampling and release of turtles.

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.


Robin LeRoux
Marine Turtle Coordinator
Marine Turtle Genetics Program and Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program
Phone: (858) 546-5659
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Robin.LeRoux@noaa.gov



Robin LeRoux, M.B.A. is the Marine Turtle Coordinator for Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and is integral to the activities of the Marine Turtle Genetics Program and the Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program. She began working with marine turtles at the SWFSC in 1998. During this time, her role has evolved from conducting research in our genetics program into program management. Her primary responsibilities include facilitating the flow of information among the two marine turtle programs and with our research partners, short and long-term program planning to meet national development plans and strategic frameworks, coordination and preparation of marine turtle research permits, and management of the program budgets. In addition to her coordinating role, she conducts research targeting genetic stock structure of hawksbill turtles in the Atlantic Ocean and fisheries by-catch in the Pacific Ocean. During her career she has had the unique opportunity to participate in various foraging and nesting beach field projects in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Erin LaCasella
Research Biologist
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
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.

Scott Benson
Marine Ecologist
Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program
Phone: (831) 771-4154
Fax: (831) 633-0805
E-mail: Scott.Benson@noaa.gov



Scott Benson M.S.C. is a marine ecologist with extensive at-sea research experience throughout the world’s oceans. Stationed at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, he is co-investigator of the SWFSC's leatherback turtle ecology program and coordinates research on leatherbacks in central California and the Western Pacific. His education includes a B.A. from San Diego State University and an M.S. in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Since 1985, Scott’s research projects have included integrated studies of marine mammals, seabirds and leatherback turtles, with emphasis on abundance, distribution, ecology, and oceanographic patterns influencing the occurrence of these species. Scott has designed, coordinated, and analyzed results from ongoing surveys of marine birds and mammals in Monterey Bay , including collaborative at-sea ecosystem studies. He also coordinated a Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary program to monitor beach deposition rates of marine vertebrates. Results from these studies have successfully documented natural and anthropogenic impacts on seabirds and marine mammals. Recent field work has included systematic aerial surveys for leatherbacks and marine mammals in central California; telemetry studies of North Pacific leatherbacks tagged at-sea in central California, and on nesting beaches in Papua New Guinea and Papua, Indonesia; capacity building and nesting beach research in the western Pacific; and habitat studies of central California foraging grounds.


Tomo Eguchi
Quantitative Ecologist
Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program
Phone:(858) 546-5615
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Tomo.Eguchi@noaa.gov



Tomo Eguchi, Ph.D. joined the sea turtle research program at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in March 2004. He has a wide variety of research experience and education. He received an M.S. from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), California State University (1998), studying diving behavior, movements, food habits, and morphology of harbor seals in the Monterey Bay area. After learning field skills at MLML, he learned theoretical and analytical ecology at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, and received a Ph.D. in ecology (2003). Along the way, he also earned an M.S. in statistics from MSU (2003). Eguchi’s dissertation was about hierarchical Bayesian analysis of mark-recapture abundance estimation, which was applied to photographic identification studies along the east coast of the US. His research interests include general ecology, conservation biology, population biology, population genetics, demography, population modeling, and statistical inference. He is also involved with quantitative analysis of movements, spatial modeling, and habitat analysis. Current projects include life-history parameter estimations for leatherback turtles, analyses of inter-nesting diving behavior and habitat use of leatherback turtles, Bayesian line-transect analyses, abundance estimations of turtles from various sources of nesting-beach survey data, development of innovative statistical analyses of archived dive data, temporal/spatial modeling of habitat, predictive modeling of interactions between protected species and fisheries, and development of quantitative management tools for marine turtles.


Manjula Tiwari
Conservation Scientist
Economics Program/Marine Turtle Research Program
Phone: (858) 546-5658
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Manjula.Tiwari@noaa.gov



Manjula Tiwari Ph.D. is a Research Scientist with NOAA's Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program. Her very first sea turtle project, in 1991, was a survey of the remote beaches of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. In 1994, she joined the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida, where she earned a Master's Degree for her loggerhead research in Florida, Brazil and Greece, and a Ph.D. looking at density-dependent processes and green turtle hatchling production at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. With interests focused on sea turtle ecology and conservation, she collaborates with sea turtle projects around the world. Her primary projects and research address a wide variety of issues ranging from nesting beach ecology to the impact of fisheries on sea turtle populations in Atlantic Africa, the Middle-East, and the western Pacific.


Michael P. Jensen
NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
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.


Kelly Stewart
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
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.


Camryn Allen
NRC Post-doctoral Fellow
Phone: (858) 334-2874
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Camryn.Allen@noaa.gov



Camryn D. Allen, Ph.D. joined the Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program in 2011. In her time here, she has developed the first sea turtle endocrinology laboratory at a NMFS science center. Camryn’s endocrinology research examines the sex ratio (using testosterone to determine juvenile turtle sex) at foraging grounds for all six sea turtle species listed as endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). In addition, Camryn is involved in determining pregnancy rate, maturity state, and stress response in free-ranging cetaceans using hormones extracted from biopsy blubber samples. She is also deeply involved in the ESA and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status assessments for green sea turtles which determine the global and regional status (endangered, threatened, not listed, etc.) of the green sea turtle. Camryn also lead a stable isotope study that was informative for the management of sea turtles off the U.S. West coast, which determined the migratory origin of loggerhead turtles caught by the gillnet fishery in the Southern California Bight. Education: Ph.D., University of Queensland, 2009; B.S., University of California, San Diego, 2003.



Amy Frey
Research Biologist
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
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.

Amy Lanci
Research Technician
Marine Turtle Genetics Program
Phone: (858) 546-5618
Fax: (858) 546-7003
E-mail: Amy.Lanci@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.

 


Joel Schumacher                             
Research Technician
Phone: (858) 334-2837  
Fax: (858) 546-7003  
E-mail:   Joel.Schumacher@noaa.gov


I started at SWFSC in January of 2012 after graduating from UCSD. As a volunteer for the Fisheries Resource Division's Molecular Genetics Lab, I worked on microsatellite analysis of thresher and mako sharks and helped out on research cruises. I am now a research technician for the stable isotope and chemical ecology laboratory for Marine Turtle Ecology and Assesement Program. My current research uses stable isotope analysis to aid in the management and conservation of marine turtles, as well as assisting with field work for Green Sea Turtles in San Diego Bay. I will eventually go back to school to pursue an advanced degree, but for now I'm happy to improve and enhance my skills as a scientist at a great research facility!


Lisa M. Komoroske              
NRC Post-doctoral Fellow
Phone: (858) 334-5617  
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. 


Cali Turner-Tomaszewicz              
Postdoctoral Researcher
Phone:   
Fax:   
E-mail: 

Cali Turner Tomaszewicz is completing her Ph.D. in Ecology, Behavior & Evolution at the University of California San Diego’s Biology department, with Dr. Carolyn Kurle. She has worked with the Marine Turtle Ecology & Assessment Program since 2008, where she focused on the habitat use patterns of, and researchers ability to study, green turtles in the San Diego Bay in response to the gradual closure of a once-through-cooling power plant. This research was conducted as part of her Masters program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, completed in 2009. Her current research utilizes humerus bones of dead, stranded turtles, and applies stable isotope analysis with skeletochronology to focus on life history, habitat use, and growth patterns of east Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and North Pacific loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta). Specific objectives include determining the duration of the oceanic stage, or the “lost years,” of these two turtle populations, and elucidating the age of settlement to neritic foraging habitats. Further applications of these techniques include determining residency duration time in discrete oceanic and neritic habitats, age-at-maturation, age distributions of location-specific populations, and the timing and variation of ontogenetic shifts in both location and diet. Prior to joining the MTEAP, Cali earned her B.A. in Environment, Economics & Politics from Claremont McKenna College in 2001 where she focused on the sustainable management of natural resources. Post-college work experiences include management and biological consulting, and science communication and outreach for a variety of non-profit organizations in Colorado and California.s. 

Last modified: 11/8/2017