Courtney Knauer

My research interests lay in expanding current knowledge on the foraging ecology of sea turtles and understanding how sea turtles contribute to the community dynamics within their habitats. Specifically, my research focuses on the bottom-up effects of reef habitat on hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) densities and distributions as well as the top-down effects that hawksbills have on coral reef resilience in Nosy Be, Madagascar. My research aims include: identifying prey species and quantifying the foraging rates of hawksbills; determining how reef quality effects hawksbill encounter rates, population densities and distribution; and understanding the role these turtles play in the competition between sponges and corals on reefs. It is my hope that this research will increase understanding of a critically endangered species and promote knowledge-based conservation for both hawksbill sea turtles and coral reef ecosystems.

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