Grant: 16-029C
Project Title: Clearwater Marine Aquarium Sea Turtle Anesthesia and Sterilizer Equipment
Project Manager: Adrienne Cardwell
Organization: Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $10,000.00
Completion Date: 2017-06-19

Summary: Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), a non-profit 501(c)(3), has been an active member of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network since its inception in 1984, and is one of only five sea turtle rehabilitation centers in Florida that treats for the Fibropapilloma (FP) virus. The staff necessary to conduct surgeries and the methods required to sterilize surgical equipment, CMA is only able to conduct approximately two CO2 laser FP tumor removal surgeries per month. Several sea turtles require multiple tumor removal surgeries, which is dependent upon several factors. CMAs current anesthesia machine requires one operator at all times to manually breathe for the sedated turtle. On days when surgeries are conducted, the Sea Turtle Department must dedicate, at minimum one staff member to run the anesthesia machine for the duration of the surgery. Due to equipment limitations Clearwater Marine Aquarium has not been able to expedite the release of fibropapilloma virus sea turtles. This project will purchase new medical equipment in the surgical and triage suite which will allow for an increased number of surgeries, including procedures that will provide samples towards a USF study of the fibropapilloma virus.

Results: Clearwater Marine Aquarium purchased and installed the anesthesia vaporizer, ventilator and monitor on September 26, 2016 after a budget modification was approved earlier in the month by Sea Turtle Grants Program. To date, the Vet of Record and current Vet Tech are fully trained on equipment use and required maintenance. Future training includes the Sea Turtle Rehab staff members, including but not limited to Supervisor, Senior, Biologist and Associate Biologist levels. The approach to acknowledge this grant funding opportunity was manifold. The proposal outlined viewing opportunities both locally and electronically. The grant funded equipment is currently housed in the Clearwater Marine Aquarium surgical suite, a 300 square foot room surrounded by four windows for guest viewing. This medical room is located just off the entrance to the facility and for 2016, was visited by more than 626,000 guests. Located on the window to the surgical suite, you will find a sign discussing the Sea Turtle License Plate grants program and information about the funded equipment. Additionally, stickers have been applied to all three pieces of equipment acknowledging funding source, while using the verbiage listed in Article VII of CMAs grant agreement. For those patrons not able to visit the aquarium, CMA had created a page on our website,, demonstrating the purchase of equipment due to the support from the Sea Turtle License Plate Grant. Concurrently, this web page serves as a conservational promotional effort encouraging the sale of the specialty plate to support sea turtle conservational efforts within the state. Overall, CMAs purchase of equipment in October has been beneficial to continuing quality care for rehab sea turtles. The updated equipment guarantees each sea turtle is kept in ideal anesthetic range, ensuring the best outcome for each procedure while there is minimal stress to the animal. The following photos were collected during procedures using the new equipment.