Some aspects of cleaning the tanks at Birch Aquarium at Scripps are more fun than others.
In addition to vacuuming detritus out of the sand and cleaning growth off the walls, scuba-diving graduate students Allison Lee and Lynn Massey recently wound up scrubbing algae from the shell of the aquarium's Loggerhead Sea Turtle, as seen in this photo by aquarist Ryan Schaeffer.
The algae would normally be nibbled off the turtle's shell by other creatures if it lived in the ocean, but the aquarium took in the female turtle in 2014 after it was rescued from an East Coast power plant's cooling canal and deemed unable to survive in the wild. She now has a home in the Hall of Fishes.
Lee and Massey are both students in Scripps Oceanography's Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation program, which equips professionals with the knowledge they need to improve conservation of marine biodiversity in the world's most diverse and threatened eco-regions.
"Lynn is striving to conserve the eastern Pacific hawksbill, one of the world's most endangered populations of sea turtles," Lee writes, "and I am developing a citizen science program with the Antarctic tourism community to better understand phytoplankton and fjord ecosystem changes in the west Antarctic Peninsula."
Lee originally posted the image on her womanscientist Instagram feed, where she also shares images of women pursuing science careers. Lee also shares research stories and videos on Woman Scientist.
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