Jorge Lopez-Perez

I have always been obsessed with the natural world. I spent my formative years in south Florida, which helped establish my love for herpetofauna. I always knew that I wanted to study something that would allow me to make this obsession a career. Over the years I have expanded on this objective and have developed an admiration for careers in conservation, and more recently ecology and field biology.

While at Eckerd I have been able to take part in various projects around the world thanks to my mentors Dr. Jeff Goessling and Dr. Peter Meylan.

My freshman year I spent the summer on an island in Panama collecting data on nesting Hawksbills for Dr. Meylan. Sophomore year I became involved with a long term demographic study of freshwater turtles in a Florida spring-fed river. Currently I help organize the logistics for the study and have begun my own study on the immune systems of the musk turtles found in the river.

I joined the Goessling lab summer of my sophomore year. In this lab I have been able to participate in a long term demographic study of gopher tortoises in Conecuh National Forest, Alabama, and the beginning of another long term demographic study on a local population of gopher tortoises.

Recently I traveled to Aruba with Dr. Goessling to learn about and participate in a demographic study of Aruban whiptail lizards and the mark recapture of Aruban rattlesnakes. Along with these projects I also assisted in the dissection of invasive Boa constrictors and began a project exploring the pentastome loads found in the lungs of said snakes. I am currently working with another professor on campus to try and genetically characterize the pentastomes.

I plan on graduating from Eckerd in the spring of 2020 with a B.S. in Biology and an undergraduate thesis. I plan on attending graduate school to further my studies of herp ecology and conservation.