David Mifsud “Turtle Dave” is a certified professional wetland scientist through the International Society of Wetland Scientists, a certified professional ecologist through the Ecological Society of America, and Certified professional Wildlife Biologist through the Wildlife Society. He has worked for over 20 years in wildlife biology, wetland ecology, and habitat conservation and management, with an emphasis on herpetofauna. He is an authority in Michigan on conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles. David is Co-chair of the State of Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Technical Advisory board. He also administers the Michigan Herpetological Atlas project and chairs the Michigan chapter of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (MIPARC). He serves as an expert on Great Lakes turtles for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. He has also served on the board of the North Central Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists and as a co-chair for the Michigan Wetland Association Research and Science Committee. Mifsud is the author of the Amphibian & Reptile Best Management Practices for Michigan and co-author of the upcoming revised edition of Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region.
David has overseen and designed numerous projects and studies focused on the inventory, monitoring, conservation and management, rescue and translocation, and headstarting of amphibians and reptiles in Michigan for a variety of partners including non-profit, private, and governmental agencies. Much of his research has focused on rare Michigan species, including Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs, Pickerel Frogs, Fowler’s Toads, , Small-mouthed Salamanders, , Spotted Turtles, Blanding’s Turtles, Wood Turtles, Eastern Box Turtles, Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes, Butler’s Garter Snakes, Queen Snakes, and Eastern Fox Snakes. This work has included radio telemetry, mark-recapture, genetic, headstart, translocation, and repatriation studies. He was instrumental in helping initiating the turtle recovery response during the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, developing recovery protocols and methods as well as helping with field collection and cleaning of turtles. This work helped save thousands of turtles associated with the disaster. David also works to promote vernal pool conservation in Michigan and has developed Michigan’s first volunteer salamander monitoring program. Mifsud also works internationally helping to protect and conserve turtles and tortoises in Southeast Asia and Africa. He is an authority of African hinge-backed Tortoises and in 2014 he co-authored the Kinixys Conservation Blueprint.