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Julia Byrd graduated from Wake Forest University with a BS in biology and environmental studies and earned a MS in environmental studies from the University of Charleston, SC in December 2004. Her thesis research examined the effect of beach nourishment on nesting loggerhead turtles in South Carolina. During her time in Charleston she participated in an in-water study used to determine abundance, conduct health assessments, and determine feeding locations and migratory paths for sea turtles found in South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida waters. She also participated in a bottlenose dolphin health assessment study and with Atlantic sturgeon research. While in school she also conducted a morphometric study on loggerhead turtles found in South Carolina that was recently published in the Marine Turtle Newsletter. Prior to graduate school she worked as Education Coordinator for Conservation International, helping to develop the Investigate Biodiversity website and ran a sea turtle project off the coast of North Carolina.