Graduate Student: Christine Figgener2018-07-19T11:07:16+00:00

Christine Figgener

chris figgener and turtle

Ph.D. Candidate


Advisors: Dr. Pam Plotkin & Dr. Joseph Bernardo

Plotkin Lab

Phone: 979-845-0831
Office: TAES Annex Building, 122.4

  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Sea turtle Reproductive Biology
  • Animal Migration
  • Conservation Biology
  • Animal Communication



For my dissertation I am investigating the basis and consequences of a female alternative reproductive tactics found in the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).

If you would like to support my research, please consider donating to my GoFundMe campaign! 


I have been working in sea turtle and cetacean conservation for the past decade and my PhD will help me to be more autonomous.

I am also part of local and international campaigns that promote the reduction of single-use plastics in our daily life. PlasticPollutionCoalition-NoStrawPlease

A video of mine that went viral 2015, is showing the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on wildlife very graphically.

Figgener C, Beck E, Dunlop D, Castillo-MacCarthy A (2018). Loxocemus bicolor. Diet. Herpetological Review. 49(1):133

Robinson NJ, Figgener C, Gatto C, Lazo-Wasem EA, Paladino FV, Santidrian Tomillo P, Zardus JD, Pinou T (2017). Assessing potential limitations when characterising the epibiota of marine megafauna: Effect of gender, sampling location, and inter-annual variation on the epibiont communities of olive ridley sea turtles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 497:71-77

Figgener C, Chacón D, Jensen M and Feldhaar H (2016), Paternity re-visited in a recovering population of Caribbean leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Robinson NJ & Figgener C (2015), Plastic straw found inside the nostril of an olive ridley sea turtle , Marine Turtle Newsletter, 147:5-6

Oviedo L, Herra-Miranda D, Pacheco-Polanco JD, Figgener C, Márquez-Artavia A, and Quirós-Pereira W, Miguel Iñiguez (2015). Diversidad de cetáceos en el paisaje marino costeros de Golfo Dulce, Península de Osa, Costa Rica, International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation (Revista de Biología Tropical), 63 (Suppl.1): 395-406

Pacheco-Polanco JD, Herra-Miranda D, Oviedo L, Quirós-Pereira W, and Figgener C (2015). Agregaciones de Alimentación del Tiburón Ballena Rhincodon typus, Smith 1828 (Orectolobiformes: Rhincodontidae) en la Cuenca Interna de Golfo Dulce, Península de Osa, Costa Rica, International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation (Revista de Biología Tropical), 63 (Suppl.1): 299-306

Oral Presentations:

Figgener C, Bernardo J, Reich K, Plotkin PT (2018). Divergent nesting behaviour linked to differences in foraging behaviour of female olive ridley sea turtles nesting on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica elucidated with stable isotope analysis. Oral Presentation. 38th International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Kobe, Japan


  • Ph.D. IDP Marine Biology, Texas A&M University, In Progress, Anticipated Summer 2019
  • M.S. (German Dipl.-Biol.) Zoology (Behavioural Physiology and Animal Ecology), University of Würzburg in Germany, 2010
  • (~B.S.) Biology, University of Tübingen in Germany, 2005


  • 2016 | Lerner-Gray-Fund for Marine Research
  • 2015, 2016 | Texas Sea Grant – Grant-in-Aid for Graduate Research
  • 2016 PADI Foundation – Research Grant
  • 2015 | George Bush Presidential Library Foundation -Graduate Student Travel Award
  • 2015 |Texas Sea Grant – Grant-in-Aid for Graduate Research
  • 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017 | International Sea Turtle Society (ISTS) – Travel Award
  • 2011| Leatherback Trust – Travel Grant
  • 2009 | PADI Foundation – Research Grant
  • Oskar-Karl-Forster-Foundation – Award for Gifted Students
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) – Scholarship
  • Golden State Exam (GSE) – Golden Merit Seal in Biology
  • Degussa Foundation – Scholarship
  • Youth for Understanding Foundation – Scholarship