Jennifer Niemuth

Global Change Fellow Alumna | Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology | North Carolina State University

2013 - 2014 Global Change Fellow

Statement of purpose:

I am a veterinarian and a PhD candidate in my third year at NCSU working with Dr. Michael Stoskopf. I am specifically interested in wildlife health and conservation medicine. Following my doctoral program and board certification in zoological medicine, I plan to pursue employment in an academic, zoological, or governmental institution. My goal is a career that balances research with education of the public and future professionals.

Description of research:

My doctoral research focuses on the potential impacts of climate change on sea turtles, with particular attention to the metabolic physiology of cold stun syndrome. I am using nuclear magnetic resonance based metabolomic techniques to study the underlying biochemistry of sea turtle responses to sudden exposure to cold. This project addresses the SECSC mission and the SECSC Science Goals, Science Themes 4 and 5 (Ecological Research and Modeling and Coastal and Nearshore Marine Environments). Cold stun syndrome occurs when ocean temperatures suddenly drop below ~15C. Affected individuals become lethargic, float, are at risk for predation, and may die if they do not receive medical treatment. Thousands of endangered and threatened sea turtles can be affected in a single cold stun syndrome event. Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), green (Chelonia mydas), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles are affected with small individuals and those in shallow, nearshore waters at greatest risk. Our research seeks to determine if cold stun syndrome events are predictable and influenced by climate change. We plan to model current climate trends to determine the impact of climate change on this syndrome under various scenarios.

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