Voting is open for nominated candidates for each available position with the International Sea Turtle Society. It will remain open until 23:59 (UTC-5) on 23rd March 2023 and the results will be presented to the general membership at the 41st International Sea Turtle Symposium. Please note that you have to be a current member of the International Sea Turtle Society to be able to vote. The application information and details of each nominated candidate can be found below.
President-Elect (one position)
Andrews Agyekumhene has a BSc. degree in Oceanography and Fisheries, an M.Phil degree in Biological Oceanography, and a PhD in Integrated Coastal Zone Management. He worked on sea turtles ecology for his second degree (2006 to 2009), and sea turtle bycatch reduction for his PhD degree (2014-2019). Andrews has worked with the Ghana Wildlife Division (GWD) for 10 years during which time he managed two of Ghana’s protected areas where 5 species of sea turtle utilize as foraging and nesting habitats. He currently works with the University of Ghana as a lecturer. He coordinates the first long term sea turtle conservation and tagging project in Ghana (since 2006). The project, which is a collaboration between government and academia, with active participation from local communities, promotes long-term conservation of the species through research, awareness and eco-tourism. Andrews has trained several of Ghana’s University students as well as international students, staff of GWD, and fishermen. He has made impacts in several communities along Ghana’s coast and has successfully eradicated poaching and egg collection along some beaches. He organized the First Ghana National Sea Turtle Conference which resulted in effective management of sea turtles in Ghana. Andrews is a member of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and has served the International Sea Turtle Society (ISTS) in the capacities of a Board member (2016-2021) and co-chair of the African regional meetings (since 2015 and ongoing). Andrews brings the 16 years of experience working actively with sea turtles and communities to contribute to Society.
Board of Directors (two positions)
I have a Master degree, and I did an internship of 7 months at Kelonia and I worked for 3 months on the field the incubation conditions of green turtle eggs in Glorioso Islands (TAAF). This is where my passion for sea turtles started, but for turtles in general, I have been passionate about them since my childhood thanks to the land turtles present in the family. The work at the care center allowed me to discover veterinary medicine but also the field of science, I participated in plenty of field missions. I speak English thanks to the year I spent there in 2012.
As head of the care center, I transfer and enrich my knowledge by participating in scientific missions and regional collaboration in the Indian Ocean (Moheli, Mayotte, Nosy Be, Nosy Iranja, French Scattered Islands). In France and abroad, I participate in seminars and workshops and make presentations to promote the actions led by the Kelonia Care Center. I have visited many care centers and initiated or consolidated partnerships with the people in charge of animal care.
My skills have expanded during my university studies, my experiences (training, travels...), meetings with passionate and exciting people and my professional experience, from trainee to manager of the Care Center, through the position of team leader. Mainly focused on care and pathologies, my skills extend to many areas including administrative management, personnel management, regulations, pedagogy, maintenance, science and relationship building.
For over ten years I have worked for the State of the World’s Turtle initiative, creating global and regional biogeography maps of marine turtles to inform and connect the global sea turtle community. Through that experience, I have met and interacted with hundreds of data providers across the globe who were kind enough to entrust their data to me, which I find exciting and humbling to this day. More recently I have applied my GIS expertise to animal movement and habitat modeling, working closely with the United States Navy on their at-sea research and compliance efforts for marine turtles. I have been involved in satellite and acoustic tagging of Kemp’s ridley, loggerhead, and green turtles on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States, using these data to explore migratory timing and habitat partitioning in a large estuarine bay. Continuing to build collaborative efforts, I have recently completed large scale spatial density models predicting abundance and distribution for loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean Sea and loggerhead, green, Kemp’s ridley, and leatherback turtles on the east coast of the United States. These models required data from many survey and tagging organizations and would not be possible without the coordination of a diverse set of data providers, which I was honored to be a part of. Though I live in the land-locked state of Colorado, I treasure the opportunities I get to travel to the coast with the sea turtle community.
Born in 1976 in Uruguay, Andrés Estrades has extensive experience in turtles, both marine, terrestrial and freshwater species. His beginnings wereas a volunteer in Mexico working on the protection of turtle Dermochelys coriacea (1997-99). In 1999 he founded Karumbé - Sea Turtles of Uruguay. He currently holds the position of Vice President. In this NGO have played leadership roles in areas such as National Stranding Network (since 2001), National Tagging Programme (since 2001). Since 2004 he has designed and implemented Marine Turtle Centers along the Uruguayan coast. He has experience in the production of audiovisual materials (films, documentaries, commercials) related to marine turtles, protected areas and fishermen. Active member of World Conservation Union MTSG / SSC (since2006). Andrés has been attending the sea turtle symposia since 1999. He has involved in the organization of the South Atlantic Network, and the meetings since 2003 (representing Uruguay in 2011-2013). Also he was involved in the organization of the sea turtle workshop of Latin-American Congress of Herpetology (Peru 2003) and the tenth RETOMALA (Mexico 2008). He serves in the Patagonian Sea Conservation Forum Network, as member since 2010, and in the board of directors since 2015.
In 2011- 2013 Andrés was elected for the ISTS Nominations Commitee (during the 2013 he served as Committee Chief). Continue helping the ISTS with his participation in the Awards Committee (2015-2017). From 2018-2022 he has served as a member of the Board of Directors.
His experience includes publications on the status, diet, migration and threats, as well as issues of education and conservation of marine turtles in Latin-American and the South Atlantic Ocean.
I started working with sea turtles at the age of 15 while volunteering on the Caretta Research Project (CRP), a non-profit organization decided to studying and protecting loggerhead turtles nesting on the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge (near Savannah, GA). I completed my B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Florida and my M.S. at Florida State University, while serving as an intern and Research Director of CRP and a
Research Associate of the Queensland EPA in Australia. I served as CRP's Research Director for 12 years before joining the NOAA SEFSC as the Sea Turtle Branch Chief in Aug. 2022. My research on sea turtles has ranged from evaluating methodological biases associated with estimating population demographic rates to understanding the ecological roles that sea turtles play as hosts to epibiota to testing the sensory
mechanisms that attract sea turtles to ocean plastics. Within the sea turtle community, I have graciously worked with academics, state and federal wildlife managers, NGO and non-profit researchers, and private consultants from both national and international organizations.
I have been a sea turtle biologist and conservation worker for over 25 years, with a deep knowledge of issues facing turtles across the Mediterranean and Middle East. I am a long-standing Regional Vice Chair of the MTSG and have been intimately involved with the ISTS since 2001.
My main accomplishments have been to initiate the 20 years and counting in-water mark-recapture project at an important turtle foraging habitat in Greece, to lead a survey that discovered a regionally important green turtle rookery in the Mediterranean, to carry out the first satellite tracking projects on sea turtles in Oman, Kuwait and Syria and, most recently, to pull together a team of experts to launch the MedTurtle Bulletin, a newsletter specifically dedicated to the sea turtles of the Mediterranean. This evolved from my long association with the Marine Turtle Newsletter and the Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter.
A lot of my work is with ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, for whom I first volunteered in 1994. Most recently my collaboration ARCHELON has focussed on satellite tracking nesting females from the Mediterranean’s largest loggerhead rookery and males from the important foraging habitat where we have the on-going mark-recapture program.
In my spare time I am a keen amateur photographer, treasurer of my local camera club and active member of the parent’s association at my two children’s primary school.
I began working with sea turtles in 1993, when I started my PhD investigating sea turtle ecophysiology on the Great Barrier Reef. I attended my first sea turtle symposium in 1994. That experience inspired me to continue sea turtle research and protection, so I moved to Costa Rica in 1996 to lead the research team at Las Baulas National Park, working primarily with leatherbacks. I was actively involved in promotion of sea turtle conservation to the local community and liaised with researchers, management officials, students, guides, tourists and local school kids. After several years in a postdoctoral position in Philadelphia I returned to Australia in 20002 and was appointed as a research and teaching academic at Monash University, where I am now a professor. My research interests are in the ecophysiology of turtles, sharks and penguins and how we can use biological knowledge to design better management and protection programs. I work closely with the Australian government in these areas, am a member of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group and have published over 110 scientific papers on these topics. I have been an elected Board member since 2018 and have played a major role in guiding the society through the Covid pandemic and developing plans for a more professional model of governance of the Society. If re-elected I would bring talent, enthusiasm and experience to the Board of Directors role in order to continue these reforms.
Itzel Sifuentes Romero
I am a molecular developmental biologist with 20 years of experience working with sea turtles, from nesting beaches and feeding grounds to my bench in the lab. My research focuses in studying how changes in the environment, from natural or anthropogenic sources, affect the development of sea turtles. Particularly, I am interested in studying the molecular mechanisms through which environmental factors, such as temperature, determines the sex of the hatchlings. I have participated in numerous collaborative research projects that combined expertise from different labs in Mexico, France, Australia, and the US, resulting in the publication of a variety of peer reviewed papers, book chapters, outreach notes, and the development of innovative tools to study the biology of sea turtles. Over the course of my career, I have received different recognitions and awards, such as the Archie Carr Best Poster Award in Biology and the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Fellowship. I have also been an active member of the Sea Turtle Society co-organizing the Temperature Dependent Sex Determination Workshop for 4 years and leading the Student Committee for 8 consecutive years. My passion for both science and sea turtles has driven my career and continues encouraging me to bring basic science and conservation closer together to develop better and innovative conservation strategies.
Dr. Shillinger is the Executive Director, co-founder and lead scientist for Upwell Turtles. He is also a founding board member and Treasurer for MigraMar. Dr. Shillinger develops scientific partnerships and leverages data to set conservation priorities, build support in key constituencies and advance protections for turtles at sea. He has worked in international environmental conservation since 1986, including satellite-tracking pelagic species such as sea turtles, billfish, sharks and tuna.
George has extensive expertise using satellite and acoustic tags, remotely-sensed environmental datasets, and fisheries datasets, to track, interpret, and predict the movements and behaviors of sea turtle species at different life history stages. He began satellite tagging leatherbacks in 2002 and conducted the first ever acoustic tag deployments on leatherbacks in 2019. His doctoral research on East Pacific leatherbacks yielded 46 tracks, representing the largest single tracking dataset for this critically endangered population.
As a co-founder of the first-ever Great Turtle Race in 2007, he used satellite-tracking data to raise global awareness for critically endangered leatherbacks. Dr. Shillinger has developed great expertise in the deployment of satellite and acoustic tags on a variety of sea turtle species and has been working to refine the development of novel micro-satellite tags for use on early stage juvenile sea turtles.
Dr. Shillinger has a PhD in Marine Biology and an MS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Stanford University, an MBA from the Yale University School of Management and a BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.