Sea Turtles of the World
Sea turtles are among the most enigmatic and charismatic animal groups in the world. This group, composed of seven species, is a popular subject for education, science, and conservation. Renowned for their beauty, and embedded deeply within human consciousness, sea turtles have suffered dramatic declines in overall population numbers because of over-harvesting. Sea turtles are likely to face even greater challenges to their populations due to climate change. Because of these risks to their populations, preserving these species digitally will be a powerful symbol of the risks they face. As there exist no preserved sea turtles in good condition, generating 3D virtual models of these animals will benefit scientists and educators. Scientists will be able to test theories for how sea turtles swim, and better understand their migration patterns. Educators will be able to 3D print these turtles to teach students about sea turtle morphology, or to use as a teaching tool in software or virtual reality platforms.
Digital Life has assembled a team of internationally recognized sea turtle biologists who will carry out the field work. In addition, Digital Life has assembled a team of professional photographers, engineers and administrative staff who will develop the equipment for capturing the 3D models, take the relevant photos, and work with educational, scientific, and media organizations on disseminating the models. The Digital Life team will travel to several field sites, including Florida, Texas, Costa Rica, Australia and Greece. As needed, the team will access turtles in zoos or refuges or rehabilitation centers.
- Jeanette Wyneken | Professor, Florida Atlantic University | www.biology.fau.edu/directory/wyneken/index.php
- Annabelle Brooks | Sea Turtle Team Leader & Earthwatch Scientist, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Bahamas | www.earthwatch.org/scientific-research/our-scientists/annabelle-brooks
- Duncan Irschick | Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst | www.bio.umass.edu/biology/irschick/
Green Sea Turtle
Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are found throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. This species is notable for its green skin and shell, which arises from the chlorophyll from its diet of sea grass.
The Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is one of the most endangered sea turtles, due to overharvesting for their beautiful shells. Along with the risk of climate change, and its effects on corals, their main food, the future of hawksbills remains in doubt.
The Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest and most wide-ranging of all sea turtles. Their distinctive curved and ridged shell, and their habit of consuming jellyfish make them a distinctive species.
The Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is one of the larger sea turtles, and ranges widely in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean sea. This endangered species is harvested widely by fishermen and communities.
The most geographically restricted sea turtle species, the Flatback (Natator depressus) occurs along the Northern coast of Australia. This species is distinctive for its flattened shell.
The Kemps Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) is the most rare of all sea turtles. This species prefers warmer waters, and is restricted to the Atlantic ocean.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are intermediate in size and occur in warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This species are known for their massive breeding congregations (arribadas) in which hundreds of turtles congregate on nesting beaches.
FROGS OF THE WORLD
Frogs are one of the most diverse and dynamic animal groups in the world. Children all over the world often experience their first taste of nature through the world of frogs - such as through their vocalizations on a summer night, or through holding these delicate creatures. In the 21st century, however, these voices are being silenced. Due to climate change, habitat destruction, and the chytrid fungus, many species of frogs have become extinct, or are facing imminent extinction.
This extinction event has been noted as a “canary in a coal mine” for other animal species. Fortunately, biologists, conservationists and citizens have sounded the alarm, and are taking steps to address frog declines. Many zoos now have captive breeding programs with rare frogs, so as to enable their reintroduction once habitat threats have ameliorated. Preserving the digital heritage of these animals presents a powerful symbol of the concern for their future. As frogs are popular among the public, these digital models will represent a fresh approach to outreach and education on their morphology, behavior, and life history. Below are a few of the frog species we plan on scanning.
We aim to create 3D models of approximately 40-60 frog species with our team of leading amphibian biologists. The current venues will be the Atlanta Zoo, the Oklahoma City Zoo, the private collections of Mark Mandica, and frogs sampled in the field in the Philippines. We are currently reaching out to other zoos and private collectors to bolster our sample size. Administrative staff will liaison, and coordinate with various educational organizations to provide these 3D models to various organizations.
The Southeast Asian mossy frog (Theloderma corticale) is distinctive for its mossy and green skin texture, allowing it to blend seamlessly into mossy rocks and trees.
Argentine Horned Frog
Argentine horned frogs (Ceratophrys ornata) are among the most commonly kept amphibian pets, and are known for their voracious appetite and bright colors.
Red Eye Tree Frog
Red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas) are among the most iconic frogs in the world. Known for their vibrant colors and large red eyes, this Central and South American species is one of the most beautiful species alive.
Cobalt Poison Dart Frog
Poison-dart frogs, such as Dendrobates tinctorius are colorful, toxic and widely kept as pets. In some parts of South America, humans employ their toxins in projectiles, but these frogs also tend to lose their toxicity in captivity.
Green Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog
Green waxy monkey leaf frogs (Phyllomedusa sauvagii) are notable for their habit of walking, as opposed to hopping, and their elongated forelimbs, which allow them to climb branches in their Central and South American habitats.
The Cane toad (Rhinella marina) is native to Central America, but has invaded many habitats throughout tropical regions of the word. Their large size (over 200 g), high poison yield, and a hardy disposition all have facilitated the ability to invade habitats.