UCF Biology

Kate Mansfield

Research Area(s): Marine biology and vertebrate zoology with an emphasis on sea turtle ecology, behavior, habitat use, and conservation.


Dr. Kate Mansfield is a marine scientist and sea turtle biologist. Her research focuses on sea turtle biology, ecology, behavior, management, and conservation. Using various census and telemetry methods, Dr. Mansfield’s research interests include sea turtle and other marine vertebrate movements, migration, and habitat utilization. Dr. Mansfield’s recent projects include testing and deploying small-scale, solar-powered satellite tags on young, oceanic stage sea turtles with the goal of describing early sea turtle dispersal and habitat use.

Dr. Mansfield’s lab and field sites include the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group’s (MTRG) long-term nesting beach and coastal juvenile research programs. The UCF MTRG has monitored beaches within and adjacent to the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge for many decades, focusing on the reproductive biology and population trends of Atlantic sea turtles. In addition to this beach program, MTRG’s in-water netting program has monitored coastal (neritic) juvenile sea turtles in the Indian River Lagoon for over three decades. Combining these programs with Dr. Mansfield’s oceanic juvenile tracking work, the MTRG provides a whole life history approach to understanding the biology, ecology, and conservation needs of Atlantic sea turtles.


Putman, N.F. and K.L. Mansfield. 2015. Direct evidence of swimming reveals a new paradigm of dispersal in the sea turtle ‘lost years’. Current Biology, 25, 1-7. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.03.014

Ehrhart, L.M., W. Redfoot, D. Bagley, and K. Mansfield. 2014. Long-term trends in loggerhead (Caretta caretta) nesting and reproductive success at an important western Atlantic rookery. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, Volume 13(2): 173-181.

Mansfield, K.L., J. Wyneken., W. Porter, and J. Luo. 2014. First satellite tracks of neonate sea turtles redefine the “lost years” oceanic niche. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Volume 281, No.1781, 20133039. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.3039.

Phillips, K.F., K.L. Mansfield, D. Die, and D.S. Addison. 2014. Survival and remigration probabilities for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nesting in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Biology(published online 14 January, 2014).  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00227-013-2386-2

Putman, N.F., K.L. Mansfield, R. He, P. Verley, and D. Shaver. 2013. Predicting the distribution of oceanic stage Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Biology Letters 9:2013 0345. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0345.

Mansfield, K.L. and N.F. Putman. 2013. Oceanic habits and habitats—Caretta caretta. Chapter 8 in: Wyneken, J., J.A. Musick, and K. Lohmann (eds). The Biology of Sea Turtles, Volume III. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Mansfield, K.L., J. Wyneken, D. Rittschoff, M. Walsh, C.W. Lim and P. Richards. 2012. Satellite tag attachment methods for tracking neonate sea turtles. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 457:181-192. Doi: 10.3354/meps09485. Open access: http://www.int-res.com/articles/theme/m457p181.pdf.

Mansfield, K.L. 2010. Sea turtles: ancient creatures with modern problems. OnlineActionBioscience publication, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Washington, D.C. http://www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/mansfield.html.

Mansfield, K. L., V. S. Saba, J. Keinath, and J. A. Musick. 2009. Satellite telemetry reveals a dichotomy in migration strategies among juvenile loggerhead sea turtles in the northwest Atlantic.Marine Biology. 156:2555-2570.



  • Member: Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Working Group
  • Associate Editor: Herpetological Conservation and Biology




  • Ph.D. – Marine Science, Fisheries Sciences Department (2006); College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
  • M.A. – Marine Affairs and Policy (1995); University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
  • B.A. – Biology, Philosophy (1992); Mount Holyoke College (including semesters abroad with Sea Education Association’s Sea Semester, and the School for Field Studies’ Turk’s and Caicos program).



UCF Meets the Conservation Challenge

On Feb. 9–12, a group of UCF faculty, staff, and graduate students from the Marine Turtle Research Group (MTRG) attended the 3rd Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting, hosted by the Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Network in Mobile, Alaba... Read more

Record Year for UCF Marine Turtle Research Group

Green sea turtles have had their highs and their lows. Before being commercially harvested for hundreds of years, green sea turtles used to be a typical sight in the Atlantic, but now they are listed as threatened under the End... Read more

Sea Turtle Myth Busted

It turns out sea turtles, even at a tender 6-18 months of age, are very active swimmers. They don’t just passively drift in ocean currents as researchers once thought. NOAA and University of Central Flori... Read more

Click here to read additional news stories