Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

When is a lab animal not a lab animal?

Rehabilitation of tumor-afflicted sea turtles, and their utilization as a natural model for human and wildlife cancers.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Duffy, D. J. & Martindale, M. Q. Commun Biol 2, 54 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Jones, K., Ariel, E., Burgess, G. & Read, M. Vet J 212, 48–57 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Duffy, D. J. et al. Commun Biol 1, 63 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Page-Karjian, A. et al. J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 45, 507–519 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Herbst, L. H. Fibropapillomatosis of marine turtles. Annu. Rev. Fish Dis. 4, 389–425 (1994).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Whilde, J., Martindale, M. Q. & Duffy, D. J. Glob Chang Biol. 23, 1792–1805 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Whilde, J. et al. Testudo 9, 22–35 (2019).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Stacy, B. A. et al. Report of the Technical Expert Workshop: Developing Recommendations for Field Response, Captive Management, and Rehabilitation of Sea Turtles with Fibropapillomatosis. (2019).

  9. 9.

    Page-Karjian, A. et al. Dis. Aquat. Org. 137, 101–108 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Hargrove, S., Work, T., Brunson, S., Foley, A. M. & Balazs, G. Proceedings of the 2015 International Summit on Fibropapillomatosis: Global Status, Trends, and Population Impacts. 85 (2016).

  11. 11.

    Yetsko, K. et al. bioRxiv, 2020.2002.2004.932632, (2020).

  12. 12.

    Farrell, J., Thomas, R., Martindale, M. Q. & Duffy, D. J. Testudo 8, 12–29 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    de Martel, C., Georges, D., Bray, F., Ferlay, J. & Clifford, G. M. Lancet Glob Health 8, e180–e190 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Davidson, N. E. et al. Clin. Cancer. Res. 22, S1–S137 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Warmest thanks are due to Mark Q. Martindale, Nancy Condron, Jenny Whilde, Devon Rollinson Ramia, Catherine Eastman, Ashley Taylor and all the veterinary and rehabilitation staff and volunteers and research students and staff of the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratories. Warmest thanks are also due to our collaborators at other sea turtle rehabilitation facilities, primarily Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, The Turtle Hospital Marathon Key, South Carolina Aquarium and Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and at other universities helping us to drive forward our marine turtle research program. We also thank the funding agencies which have been essential in enabling us to conduct fibropapillomatosis research: The Sea Turtle Conservancy, Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, project number 17-033R, the Save Our Seas Foundation under project number SOSF 356, the Welsh Government Sêr Cymru II and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 663830-BU115. Finally warm thanks are also due to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), including Meghan Koperski for valuable assistance with permitting. All research and rehabilitation activities of the hospital are conducted under FWC marine turtle permits MTP-20-236 (research) and MTP-20-228 (rehabilitation), with research ethical approval from the University of Florida Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to David J. Duffy.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Duffy, D.J., Burkhalter, B. When is a lab animal not a lab animal?. Lab Anim 49, 95–98 (2020).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing