Story of Success
Our rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle serves as an important ambassador for ocean conservation. She was rescued in 2013 with several injuries that affected her buoyancy including a large gap in the bottom right part of her shell, an abnormally curved spine and paralysis in her back flippers.
After spending some time at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, she came to Birch Aquarium and found her forever home. When she arrived at Birch Aquarium in 2014, she was underweight and only weighed 98 pounds. She has since thrived under our care and currently weighs more than 200 pounds.
Turtles and Technology
Our rescued sea turtle has a “unique” swimming style, as her former injuries paralyzed her back flippers and affected her buoyancy. But with the help of a 3D-printed brace on her shell, she continues to thrive and swim in style.
In 2016, Birch Aquarium teamed up with the Digital Media Lab at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library to create what is believed to be the first 3D-printed brace for a sea turtle’s shell. This brace — made of strong plastic and precisely fitted to its shell with marine-safe epoxy — slows the downward curving of her shell, promotes more normal growth and prevents further complications.
In 2021, our Loggerhead Sea Turtle underwent a structured blue light 3D scan. This technology essentially “mapped” our sea turtle with pulsating lights to create a near-instant and accurate 3D scan. The scan gathered her overall size and dimensions, the unique characteristics of her shell and helped our team document the current status of her shell’s 3D printed brace.