UCF PhD student wins awards

Simone Ceriani, UCF PhD student with the marine turtle research group

Simona Ceriani, a PhD student in the biology department who works with the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group led by Dr. Ehrhart, recently won a few awards.

In August, Ceriani won the “Best Student Poster Presentation Award” at the Comparative Nutrition Society Symposium in Tucson, Arizona, which came with a $500 prize for her presentation entitled “Preliminary nutritional baseline data for loggerheads nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.”

Earlier this year Ceriani was a recipient of the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded with proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. She is one of the project managers for the project entitled “Investigating the relationship between feeding ecology and reproductive output in loggerhead turtles nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.” The Florida Sea Turtle Grant Program has been supporting Ceriani’s dissertation project since 2009 providing a total amount of $ 39,696.

In the picture provided by Ceriani she is with one of  the nesting loggerhead females she’s been satellite tracking for her research.

“In May 2009, I deployed several satellite tags on nesting females to quantify clutch frequency (the number of nests laid during the three month season), investigate movement patterns during the nesting season and post-nesting migration. Bitey, the turtle in the picture, nested 5 times between May and July 2009. We found her 4 out of the 5 times and were able to collect tissue samples for my research,” Ceriani said.

“After leaving our nesting beach she went to the Bahamas and she has been in that foraging area since then. Her satellite tag still sends very good and valuable information, we hope she will nest in our study area in 2011, to encounter and sample her again!”

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