Public science seminar focuses on sea turtles Public science seminar focuses on sea turtles Advocate staff report Dec. 04, 2013 Comments “The Conservation of Sea Turtles: Why Are They Cool and Important?” will be the theme of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Science on Tap seminar on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The informal presentation by SLU Associate Professor of Biology Roldán Valverde will be at 7 p.m. at Tope lá Catering, 113 E. Thomas St., Hammond. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the presentation is free and open to all ages. A specialist in sea turtle conservation, Valverde is the president of the International Sea Turtle Society, which will bring up to 1,500 conservationists, scientists and students to New Orleans for a major symposium in April. Valverde has worked for the Caribbean Conservation Corp. — now the Sea Turtle Conservancy — as a field leader of the green sea turtle-tagging project in Costa Rica, the oldest sea turtle project in the world. His lab at SLU fosters international collaborative programs, especially with Latin American institutions and organizations. He is working with an association of researchers from Florida to establish sea turtle population baselines in the Gulf of Mexico. He said a major concern is that the turtle populations may eventually disappear from the Gulf of Mexico due to human negligence. “This could cause significant impact on our ecosystem that we cannot predict at this point in time because we lack the data on how these species contribute to our ecosystem,” he said. Sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences, the Science on Tap series will feature presentations throughout the fall and spring semesters. For information, contact the Department of Biological Sciences at (985) 549-3740.