Sea Turtle In-Water Study Researchers

Al Segars

Al is a veterinarian for the Marine Resources Division at SCDNR. He has a veterinary degree from UGA and BS in Forestry Recreation from Clemson University. Al has had a mixed animal practice for 14 years in Hartsville, SC. He moved to Beaufort, SC for the DNR position and during the summer he does turtles! He also covers all marine/aquatic animals (fish kills, marine mammals, etc.). The big turtle focus here is: where do the juveniles go? He is also involved in the mariculture industry to help set protocols for shrimp catches and health criteria for imported seafood. He also helps evaluate and certify aquaculture farms and hatcheries. Al assists DHEC with West Nile Virus cases as well. Visit for more information on the SCDNR marine turtle conservation program.

Ian Moody

Ian is a DNR Biologist, Level I. He received a B.S. in marine science from the College of Charleston. His main area of expertise is in algal toxicology. Ian has also been working with SEAMAP, a 20 year program utilizing 100 stations between cape Hatteras and Cape Canaveral within 3 miles of shore. Sample sites are randomly selected three times per year. Ian interned for SCDNR and has also participated in the SEA program at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Heather Chadwick

Heather is a 3rd year veterinary student at North Carolina State University with an undergraduate degree in Biology. She is currently participating in an internship with SCDNR. She does the labeling and measurements for each turtle surveyed. Previously, Heather was an intern in South Africa, relocating giraffes, lions and leopards by darting them from helicopters and relocating them for a breeding program between parks. She hopes to have a mixed animal practice in a small town. She’s been surprised at the unique personalities of reptiles and plans to continue to volunteer with the Topsail Beach sea turtle hospital in North Carolina -

Michelle Johnson

Michelle is a senior in marine biology at University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is currently interning for the summer with Pritchard Island’s sea turtle nesting program ( She is measuring and PIT tagging nesting females as well as relocating nests when necessary. To date, they have had 42 nests and 80 false crawls (1/3 way through nesting season). This season is the first time a tagged turtle has returned to Pritchard’s. She was tagged 2 years ago which is unusual because it was thought that turtles nested every 3rd year. Michelle has always wanted to be a marine biologist and has been working at the Topsail Beach sea turtle hospital in North Carolina ( She’s thinking about going to veterinary school.

Captain Bubba Daniels

Captain Bubba has been on shrimp boats since he was 4 or 5 years old with his father. At age 17 he was running his own boat and is a 4th generation shrimper. He’s also worked on research and tow vessels, but always came back to shrimping. His shrimping business has been prosperous and he owns his own boat. He was contracted to trawl for the DNR Turtle project. He says the work breaks up the monotony of shrimping and is more guaranteed than the amount of shrimp he might catch. The hours are what he likes least about shrimping: almost 24 hr days for 5 or 6 day stretches. Shrimping technology hurts more than it helps in his opinion because it allows more people to have access to the fish and shrimp rather than learning the compass and bathymetry skills.

Earl O'Neal

Earl is a deckhand and cook for the shrimp trawler Miss Tina. Some of his duties include shopping for groceries, cleaning, making repairs to the boat and handling the shrimp nets. He’s been doing this since he was 17 years old (he’s 51 now). He got hooked when he went out shrimping with a friend in high school for Thanksgiving Break. He loves the job because of the great pay and the opportunity to travel. One thing he doesn’t like is rough seas. He remembers a particular storm with 18 foot seas that lasted about 12 hours. He’s disappointed in the prices that shrimp are getting now because of all the shrimp that’s being imported.

Gerald Duncan

Gerald has been a deckhand for about 8 years. Shrimping has been a family business and he’s stuck with it. He enjoys the peace and quiet that allows him to think. He doesn’t plan on doing anything else. He’s responsible for the rigs, setting up, picking the shrimp and sometimes driving the boat. He says one of the downfalls of his job is the minimal money available in the winter months.