Nicole Barbour

Doctoral Student, MEES Program




I am co-advised by Dr. Bill Fagan and Dr. Helen Bailey at Chesapeake Biological Laboratories. After studying the geomorphology of the sandy continental shelf and its impact on burrowing animal structure in Monterey Bay, California, I brought my research interests on spatial and movement ecology in marine systems to the University of Maryland. My PhD project is currently developing into what will likely be multiple studies centered on the migration and spatial ecology of sea turtles in the eastern Pacific and western Atlantic regions. The majority of sea turtles, along with being endangered, have knowledge "gaps" on their migration and spatial use patterns throughout their different life history stages. This is especially true for their juvenile and hatchling phases, which are understudied and challenging to track for long periods of time. Threats to sea turtle survival include being caught as bycatch in fisheries, ingesting pollution, and becoming entangled in fishing lines and nets, all of which have been shown to overlap with sea turtle migration in certain species and life stages. I seek to answer some of the many questions left to answer in regards to sea turtle movement and migration ecology, including: how anthropogenic activities like fishing are impacting their survival and migration paths, their overlap with pollution hotspots in the north and south eastern Pacific, how their different life stages are affected by these activities and other abiotic/biotic factors, and comparisons between the migration paths of different sea turtle species.I will do this with a combination of quantitative skills in statistics, modeling, and geographic information systems and hands-on fieldwork using tagging technology. Additionally, I hope to bring my research to the public with public outreach efforts on the impacts of pollution on sea turtles and other endangered marine animals; and further the development of software tools to assist fisheries and policy makers in predicting bycatch "red" zones for sea turtles.

Nicole Barbour

From the gallery

Azuero spider monkey  Field site  Capuchin monkey  Azuero spider monkey