Environmental Impacts

Sea Turtle Shell Strength Testing and Analysis

Led by Jeanette Wyneken, Ph.D.
Affiliated Home Campus: Boca Raton
Affiliated Department: Biological Sciences
REU Scholar: Mia Missimer
REU Scholar Home Institution: Pearl River Community College


This project was designed to help assess the possible environmental impact of marine renewable energy (MRE) on sea turtles. Sea turtles are known to inhabit potential MRE sites, and it is thus crucial that they can coexist with this promising technology. We conducted the material testing sea turtle shells to understand their strength and resiliency. By material testing shell samples, we are not only gaining knowledge into the insights on shell biomechanics but providing valuable insight into how shells may respond to collisions with MRE blades. We excised samples from several dead turtles and tested them in compression. We will analyze the stress-strain curves next to extract values of strength, toughness, and Young's modulus (the modulus of elasticity). These data will then be used to assess the impact of a blade colliding with a shell.

Click here to watch the student presentation.

HBOI ocean fish