Six of seven species of sea turtles facing extinction

Six of seven species of sea turtles, critical to ocean ecology, are facing extinction with humans their most dangerous predator.

Meet the Beastcam (TM): an ingenious device that produces stunning 3-D photographs for use in sea turtle education and conservation and to digitally preserve the majestic sea creatures. The octopus like device, loaded with 30 cameras set off by a wireless trigger, is the brainchild of Duncan Irschick, a University of Massachusetts Amherst biology professor, and his undergraduate students in the College of Natural Sciences.

With the turtles’ imminent potential for demise, Irschick plans to use the Beastcam’s photogrammetry technology to create art to inspire save-the-sea-turtles campaigns and give scientists a new tool to study the charismatic mariners that swam the oceans when dinosaurs roamed the earth. His quest to add the sea turtles to his digital Noah’s ark started in June in Florida and will take him to Australia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Greece, and Texas. Through crowdfunding, alumni and friends have contributed $4,200 for the sea turtle project.

“You can’t imagine a world without sea turtles. It comes down to that.” —Duncan Irschick

“Essentially, we are saying we are so worried about these animals that we are taking the trouble to go around the world and preserve them digitally so future generations can know them,” says Irschick. Researchers will be looking at unlocking secrets of the enigmatic sea turtles, the best navigators in the animal kingdom, by studying their anatomy and migratory patterns.

Visit the website to view 3-D models of animals and watch a video of the sea turtles.
 

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