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David A. Steen, Ph.D.

Aldo Leopold said, “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” I am one of the latter. As a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist, I want to study how animal populations persist on the land and in the sea. As a science communicator, I want people to know why I value the natural world and why I think it is important to protect and restore biological diversity.

I am the Research Ecologist of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, Georgia, the Executive Director of The Alongside Wildlife Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and serve on the Board of Directors of the Wildlands Network. I am also a member of the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative, the Eastern Indigo Snake Reintroduction Committee and serve as the Southeast representative of the Diamondback Terrapin Working Group.

I received my B.S. from the University of New Hampshire (2001) and my M.S. from the SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2003). I was a lead research technician at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center for three years before earning my Ph.D. from Auburn University (2011). Afterwards I completed a postdoctoral appointment at Virginia Tech (2012-2013) and then worked as an assistant research professor at Auburn University until 2017.

To meet the Georgia Sea Turtle Center crew, please visit this link.

Summer 2019 Georgia Sea Turtle Center Research Department staff and AmeriCorps members.
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Summer 2018 Georgia Sea Turtle Center Research Department.

Auburn University personnel (below). Although I am no longer at Auburn University, my students are completing their graduate degrees there and I remain involved in the completion of their work.

Joseph Jenkins, MS Graduate Student

I am studying the habits and status of the Flattened Musk Turtle in Bankhead National Forest. I received my B.S. in Zoology and my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University (2016). In addition to my undergrad studies, I have spent the past four years conducting field research on the Flattened Musk Turtle and the Black Warrior Waterdog salamander with the Alabama Natural Heritage Program. I am best described as a field herpetologist and herpetoculturist with an interest in ecology and an obsession for conservation, especially of rare and endangered species. I am an amateur mead maker and avid outdoorsman.

Sara Piccolomini, MS Graduate Student

I am studying the reintroduction of Eastern Indigo Snakes to Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve for my thesis. My research interests are in population and community ecology, conservation, and physiological ecology of rare and imperiled amphibians and reptiles. I received my B.A. from Hiram College (2014) in Environmental Studies. I have spent the last year helping to assess the status of endangered species like the Black Warrior Waterdog, Eastern Hellbender, and Gopher Tortoise in Alabama while working for the Alabama Natural Heritage Program and the Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander at Eglin Air Force Base while working for Virginia Tech/Jackson Guard. Through these experiences I have developed a deep passion to help protect the rare and endangered species of the southeast. I spend my free time hanging out with my dog.