I-Jiunn Cheng

Country: Taiwan, R.O.C.

Occupation: Professor, Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University

Specialty: Nesting ecology and satellite telemetry of sea turtles, animal physiological ecology

Best part about my job: After working several years in the field, I just found out that most of our field sites have been officially recognized as protected sea turtle nesting areas.

Biggest challenges I face: Maintaining two field sites active each summer in research, conservation awareness and education, sea turtle ecotourism etc., from the limited government funds granted to a single university professor. Currently, I am trying to expand the programs to welcome other researchers from different fields and countries to work together on my field sites.

The most unusual or exciting thing that’s happened to me while working in the field: One summer night in 1997, right after the field training course for the local beach patrolling team, we spotted several turtles emerging on different beaches. Thus, I was traveling from one beach to the other to make sure that there were enough hands to work on each turtle. When a local helper and I got to the last beach, the turtle was already on her way back to the water, and I was wondering why the beach was so bright. The helper told me that it was 6 am. It was only then that we realized that had been busily working on the beach since 7:30 pm the previous night.

Why I like being a member of the MTSG: Being a member of MTSG gives one a lot of opportunities to meet other turtlers and learn about what is going on in the world. This helps inform actions that are most appropriate to save the sea turtles.

Turtle researcher / conservationist I most admire: All the bright and smart persons, like Archie Carr, Peter Pritchard, Brendan Godley, to name a few.

When I’m not working on turtles I like to: Go sightseeing, take photos, read novels, watch movies, and relax with the family

Ten years from now, I hope I will be doing: The same work I am doing now, with the addition of searching for the appropriate person to continue this sea turtle work after my retirement.

Relevant links to find out more about me and my work: http://www.imb.ntou.edu.tw/Fa01.htm