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Carl Mayhugh

Awarded a grant to study East Pacific green turtles in San Diego Bay

Prescott College AffiliationStudent
Area of Expertise Marine Conservation Biology

Prescott College master’s student Carl Mayhugh was awarded a $10,000 grant by the San Diego Unified Port Authority to track the movements and foraging behaviors of the East Pacific Green Turtles in San Diego Bay.

Mayhugh pursued a master’s degree in Marine Conservation Biology and used the completed study as his thesis. “I worked with the turtles as a part of my Prescott Practicum,” Mayhugh explained. “My thesis evolved from my experiences there.”

Many people are unaware that an estimated 100 East Pacific green turtles live in San Diego Bay, including the largest ever captured, weighing over 550 lbs. The turtles share their home with commercial ships, US Navy ships, and hundreds of private boats.

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, most green turtle deaths in San Diego County are caused by boat collisions and debris entanglement.

“By understanding the movement and foraging patterns of the turtles within San Diego Bay, we will be better equipped to develop a management strategy to protect these endangered animals while maintaining the use of one of the busiest ports in the country,” said Mayhugh.

The project spans two years and will be completed in conjunction with the Marine Turtle Research Team at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest Science Center, headed by Peter Dutton, PhD.

“I am fortunate to be able to work directly with Peter [Dutton] and his team at NOAA, who are among the top experts in their field,” said Mayhugh. “Prescott College has opened these doors for me, and I greatly appreciate it.”