Sea Turtle Egg Fusariosis Research Funding Sought

Posted: July 19, 2016

Ph.D. candidate Chris Smyth seeks to raise $4,000 by Aug. 13 to fund Sept. research at three Florida sea turtle nest sites.
Fusarium macroconidia | Image: Chris Smyth, Penn State University

Fusarium macroconidia | Image: Chris Smyth, Penn State University

Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM) Ph.D. candidate, Christopher Smyth, has initiated a thirty-day crowdfunding campaign on, a platform for funding scientific discoveries. Chris’s campaign titled “Sea turtle egg fusariosis: unraveling the biology of an emerging fungal pathogen” seeks to raise $4,000 by August 13 to fund the research for one of his dissertation chapters.

The funds for this project will allow Chris to travel to three different National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) sites in Florida to sample post-hatch sea turtle nests, sand, and ocean water for the presence and diversity of Fusarium species and determine their association with hatchling success on Florida beaches. He will also collect environmental data to determine the impact of different site characteristics on Fusarium communities.

More Information and How to Donate

Chris will give two public talks to raise awareness of his campaign:

  • Chincoteague Bay Field Station (Virginia) | Thursday, July 21, 5:00 p.m.
  • Millbrook Marsh Nature Center (State College) | Wednesday, August 3, 7:00 p.m.

Emerging fungal diseases are an increasing threat to wildlife & ecosystem health. Diseases such as white nose syndrome of bats and chytridiomycosis of amphibians have led to some of the worst die-offs ever seen in wild species. Sea turtle egg fusariosis was the disease implicated in massive losses in sea turtle nests in Cape Verde in 2010. Since then the pathogens responsible for this disease (Fusarium keratoplasticum and Fusarium falciforme) have been found in association with nest fouling all over the world.