Research Studies

Friends of Gumbo Limbo supports multiple types of research, all of which advance the science behind inspiring stewardship of coastal and marine environments.

Sea Turtle in Rehabilitation Hospital

Research grants are provided to graduate students pursuing their Master's or PhD's in marine biology, ocean engineering, or other related fields at major Florida universities. Grants are also available to researchers with academic and non-profit research institutions to further their studies on marine life and coastal habitats. As well, Friends of Gumbo Limbo underwrites the pursuit of research studies by our own Gumbo Limbo Nature Center staff, such as satellite tagging and tracking of rehabilitated sea turtles.

Each year, we collectively invest over $50,000 towards scientific inquiry into sharks, corals, rays, sea turtles, ocean currents, and other marine-related topics. This is made possible through the generous donations of private donors including family foundations, individuals, and proceeds from our fundraising efforts such as the Adopt-A-Turtle program.

The more we understand about our oceans and coastal environments, the more we can be aware when our behaviors impact the ocean positively or negatively. This alows us to approach conservation from a fact-supported perspective on how we can inspire our guests based on the research being done by graduate students and professors across the state.


Ongoing Research Projects


University-Led Research

Fibropapillomatosis and the Sea Turtle Lymphatic System

A joint effort among Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University, and Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility, with participation of the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston. This study aims to characterize the sea turtle lymphatic system and investigate any potential relation to the fibropapillomatosis disease common in sea turtles.

Effect of UV Light on FP Tumor Recovery in Sea Turtles

This is a joint study between Florida Atlantic University and Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility examining the effects of UV light on vitamin D levels and immune system function in green sea turtles with Fibropapillomatosis. This research is being conducted as part of a student’s Master’s thesis.


Third Party-Led Research

Acoustic Tracking of Juvenile Green Sea Turtles

A collaborative study between Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility and Inwater Research Group (IRG) to investigate the movements of local juvenile green sea turtles, particularly in relation to recreational fishing piers where a number of sea turtles are found with hook and line related injuries.


Gumbo Limbo-Led Research

Satellite Tracking of Rehabilitated Sea Turtles

Since 2014, Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility has satellite tracked select rehabilitated sea turtles each year. Initial results demonstrate that rehabilitated turtles follow similar behaviors as wild sea turtles. Satellite tracking of sea turtles treated at Gumbo Limbo will ultimately contribute to a broader collaborative study investigating these trends.