The International Sea Turtle Society has one goal – to ensure that robust populations of sea turtles exist around the world, fulfilling their ecological roles within a healthy environment and in harmonious co-existence with man. The complex issues pertaining to this goal will be in sharp focus when the organization stages its annual conference – the International Sea Turtle Symposium – in Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 2-9, 2019, with one session taking place at the College of Charleston campus.

Some 800 attendees from over 60 countries are expected to descend on Charleston for the event. Among them will be two professors from the College  as well as numerous students.

Professor emeritus David Owens, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, will present at the event, as will professor Ashley Lavender, who teaches in the environmental and sustainability studies program and directs the internship programs within the Office of Sustainability.

Lavender says that one of the more engaging sessions of the conference will take place on campus on Monday, Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. in Room 101 of the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center when Joseph Pfaller, research director at the loggerhead sea turtle conservation group the Caretta Research Project, speaks about sea turtles in the Southeast.

Pfaller will talk about the impacts of global climate change on sea turtles. He’ll be drawing from his research on the loggerhead turtles that nest on Wassaw Island, Georgia. He is monitoring that population to understand how human activities, including conservation actions, might impact that particular population.

Pfaller’s talk will be followed by a meet-and-greet reception at the Office of Sustainability (14 Green Way, Room 102) at 1 p.m. For additional information on the International Sea Turtle Symposium, visit the organization’s website.