Loma Linda University Researchers Launch First Global Sea Turtle Sightings Smartphone App

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PhD student and his advisor develop app available on Google Play and in the iPhone app store

Loma Linda University Researchers Launch First Global Sea Turtle Sightings Smartphone App

“We discussed the idea and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could develop a smartphone app that people around the world could use to upload photos and information about turtles that could actually help sea turtle conservation researchers?'"

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Susan Onuma
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Researchers at Loma Linda University have released the first interactive global sea turtle sightings smartphone app ever developed.

PhD student, Dustin Baumbach, and his advisor, Professor Stephen G. Dunbar, PhD, developed the app. The two are sea turtle researchers in the department of earth and biological sciences at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and study sea turtles through the Protective Turtle Ecology Center for Training, Outreach, and Research Inc. (ProTECTOR Inc.) in the country of Honduras. “We saw the need for people to be a part of the scientific process – to link up with us as researchers and become citizen-scientists,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar has been studying sea turtles in the country of Honduras for the past nine years, and has spent much of that time working around the Islands of Roatán and Utila. While researching sea turtles in Roatán in 2014, the two developed a mapping system that allows scuba divers and snorkelers to upload photographs and information about the turtles they’ve just seen. “We discussed the idea and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could develop a smartphone app that people around the world could use to upload photos and information about turtles that could actually help sea turtle conservation researchers?’ So I set out to develop the app, myself,” says the 26-year old Baumbach.

The app, named TURT (Turtles Uniting Researchers and Tourists), is the first and only smartphone app available that can map sightings information and photographs of sea turtles seen anywhere in the world. The app launches today (April 4), and is available for free at app stores for iPhones and androids.

The app can be found at Google Play; it will be available within a week from the iPhone app store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.esri.TURT

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About Loma Linda University Health

Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals and more than 800 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, Loma Linda University Health is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."

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Susan Onuma
Loma Linda University Health
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