Devon Francke

Last Updated April 15, 2013

devon.francke 'at' gmail ' dot' com




My whole life I have been interested in animals and the environment. This led me to pursue my undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I worked in a population biology lab, studying predator prey relationships. I graduated with a B.S. in zoology, unsure of what I wanted to do with my newfound desire to conserve and study endangered ecosystems. Immediately after graduation, I took up a new hobby – scuba diving – and traveled to Australia for a month-long environmental conservation volunteer project. It was there that I went scuba diving for the first time in the “wild,” the location just happening to be the Great
Barrier Reef. Immediately upon jumping into the water I knew that the rest of my life would be devoted to studying and protecting the ocean and its diverse wildlife.

Upon completion of my trip to Australia, I worked as a Waterfront Research Intern with the School for Field Studies – Center for Marine Resource Studies on the island of South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In this year-long position, I earned my Divemaster scuba certification and assisted faculty with a multitude of research projects in the field. I also had the opportunity to lead an independent research project, marking and recapturing hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) to determine their growth rates.


After returning back to the states, I began to apply for graduate degrees in marine conservation, hoping to work with sea turtles once again. In the meantime, I worked as a dive leader, tour guide, educator, team lead, and dressed up as “Scuba Santa” at Underwater Adventures Aquarium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This provided me a great opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding marine ecology and conservation, as well as allowing me to educate and share my passion for the marine environment with the public.


Now, as a graduate student of marine science at Hawaii Pacific University, I am working to quantify juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) diving behavior in a high-use foraging area in relation to habitat and environmental variability operating on diel, tidal, and seasonal cycles. The results of this study will help elucidate how environmental conditions in space (habitat heterogeneity) and time (diel, tidal, seasonal cycles) influence turtle habitat use patterns.

This improved understanding of turtle habitat use patterns and grazing dynamics will help the implementation of ecosystem-based management approaches for protecting dense foraging aggregations of juvenile sea turtles in areas of high human-induced mortality.


I defended my MSMS on August 2011



My thesis presentation was awarded the sunner-up best oral student presentation at the 2011 Hawai'i Conservation Alliance Conference.


After graduating from HPU, I have been working for the Marine Turtle Research Program, at NOAA's Pacific Islands Science Center, in Honolulu.


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