Leatherback Turtle Researcher Named to Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" List
A University of British Columbia student has been chosen as one of Popular Science magazine's "Brilliant 10" list. T. Todd Jones made the list, which is meant to highlight top young scientists, because of his work with the nearly extinct leatherback turtle.
Jones developed a special harness and food that allowed him to raise leatherback turtles in captivity. His research has helped raise two leatherbacks since 2005. Prior to Jones' work, no one had ever successfully raised the critically extinct turtle in captivity.
The two turtles now weigh approximately 30 kg and have proved to be a goldmine of information for researchers.
"The lessons learned from captive rearing will also help create protocols for rehabilitating adult leatherbacks that are stranded or caught in commercial fishing gear," Jones said in a university news release.
Leatherbacks have been around for more than 100 million years and survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.
An adult leatherback turtle can reach between 250 and 550 kilograms, with the largest male recorded at 918 kilograms — about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.