College Students and Texas State Aquarium Partner to Create Rescued Sea Turtle App

December 13, 2018

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Collecting and accessing data on rescuing endangered sea turtles? There’s an app for that.

A new application developed by students from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) in partnership with the Texas State Aquarium will make inputting and accessing data on rescued sea turtles easier and more efficient for the Aquarium staff working to save these animals.

In 2018 so far, more than 1,100 rescued sea turtles have made their way to the Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center, and as federally-protected animals, these marine reptiles are carefully documented upon intake. As sea turtles are brought in for treatment after being stranded, entangled, or injured, their body weight, temperature, and other measurements are recorded for use in national databases.

Now, a new student-developed app will aim to make that record-keeping task more efficient for Aquarium rescuers, as well as making the data easier to access in the future.

As a real-world IT project, the Aquarium submitted a Request for Proposal in September 2018 to the TAMUCC MISY 4375: Section 001 IT Project Management/Managing IT Projects course. The class’s 19 students, taught by Dr. Chuleeporn Changchit, then split into five teams and worked with the Aquarium’s Animal Care and Management Information Systems staff to develop an application called Sea Turtle Recovery Activity Network Database (STRAND) for recording rescued sea turtle data. Aquarium staff consulted students on each phase of STRAND, including system analysis and design, development, and the upcoming presentation of their app. Teams then presented their ideas to the Aquarium at the close of the semester, and a team of four students, “Roseate Software,” was selected as the winning submission.

The winning team will have their application put to real-world use assisting with sea turtle rescue efforts at the Aquarium. The new app will increase record-keeping efficiency and allow for quicker historical data access regarding turtle’s movements. This data will tell part of a rescued sea turtle’s story, which helps determine the best way to treat the animal, if it’s able to be released back into its natural habitat, and the ideal location to do so, among other factors.

The winning application will soon be submitted to the Aquarium and implemented into their everyday rescue efforts. Rescuers believe the technology will make a powerful conservation tool for helping to save and conserve thousands of sea turtles over the next few years.

To learn more about the Texas State Aquarium’s sea turtle rescue, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org/turtlerescue.

Pictures of sea turtle record-keeping and rescue

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