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Jason Isley

Research Initiatives

We are collaborating with local partners internationally to conduct high-impact research projects

Photo Identification Program

Improving estimates of leatherback sea turtle population size, internesting movements, migration patterns, fisheries interactions and nesting behavior while simultaneously providing a platform for community outreach, fundraising and conservation campaigns.

We aim to combine photographs, citizen science, and computer algorithms to identify individual leatherbacks to understand patterns of range-wide connectivity. We rely on contributions from colleagues ‘on-the-ground’ – or in the water – and try to maximize the value of face-to-face interactions with leatherbacks around the world. The dataset collected by various groups of individual leatherbacks will be the first used to develop computer algorithms for automatic individual identification using the white spots on the sides of the face of a leatherback. This is a pilot project and is in its trial phase.


Bycatch Reduction - Ecuador

Working to prevent the extirpation of East Pacific leatherbacks

TLP is collaborating with fishermen cooperatives, the Vice Ministry of Fisheries, local nonprofit organizations, and local biologists and university students to develop a multi-phase bycatch reduction program. 

This project has several components:

  1. Testing bycatch reduction technology

  2. Education and outreach campaign

  3. Monitoring stranding events

  4. Community & fishermen surveys

  5. Research investigations into habitat use of endangered species and fisheries overlap

  6. Bycatch reduction technology implementation

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Sea Turtle Conservation -

Pearl Islands, Panama

Discovering new nesting and foraging grounds, combatting wildlife trade and collaborating with the local community

In the Pearl Islands we are working with the local community on various islands to learn more about sea turtle habitat use in the Archipelago, the history and culture of human use of sea turtles, prevalence of sea turtle bycatch, and the major threats that sea turtles face in the Gulf of Panama.

We are currently analyzing data from our pilot expedition and look forward to sharing our findings! 

Check out our expedition blog, Endangered Treasures, on the National Geographic Field Notes Platform

This program is funded by:

  • National Geographic Society

  • Marine Conservation Action Fund of the New England Aquarium 

  • Big Andrew Foundation 

  • SEE Turtles 

  • additional private donors


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