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High Schooler Saving Sea Turtles

The world’s largest high school science competition, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, recently named Iolani School senior Maddux Springer as the winner of the top prize. Springer’s research examined green sea turtles in his hometown of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. During the pandemic, Springer spent a considerable amount of time freediving in the bay and discovered that many of the green sea turtles he swam with had small tumors growing on their backs. He couldn’t find any answers online, and decided to do his own research to figure out what was happening to the turtles. After studying sea turtles and their environment for two and a half years, Springer concluded that the growing number of cesspools in Hawaii affect the algae turtles consume, which leads them to develop cancerous tumors. If sea turtles continue getting this form of cancer, the population will decline rapidly, which will in turn negatively impact coral reefs in the ecosystem. Springer won $10,000 for his important research, but he says the real win is getting his work published and spreading the word about saving the sea turtle population. 

Image via Island News

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