Patricia S. and Ray E. Ashton Jr. have worked together as field biologists and educators for nearly thirty years. They have conducted a wide range of studies and projects covering topics from salamander and frog behavior to sustainable tourism and management of protected areas. In 1997, they established Finca de la Tortuga Ashton Biological Preserve. In this one-hundred-acre upland habitat, they have tested management techniques as part of an in-depth study into the foraging of gopher tortoises and other species of reptiles and amphibians. They founded the Ashton Biodiversity Research and Preservation Institute, Inc., and the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative (GTCI).