Loggerhead Marinelife Center Shares Insights From 2020 Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Despite the world’s seismic shift, our Center has cataloged a successful 2020 sea turtle nesting season on its 9.5-mile stretch of beach, which spans from the northern Palm Beach County line to the northern boundary of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. Between February 28 and October 31, our researchers documented 16,935 sea turtle. Altogether, the Research Department recorded 286 leatherback, 13,059 loggerheads, and 3,590 green sea turtle nests.
“This year marks the third-highest nest count since we first began surveying sea turtle nests in the 1980s,” said LMC’s Director of Research, Dr. Justin Perrault. “In general, we hope that beachgoers abide by laws and regulations surrounding nesting sea turtles. However, that is not always the case given female sea turtles can be scared backed into the water or impeded by beach debris, sandcastles, holes, flashlights and human presence.”
Positive Data from Beach Closures
According to our data, loggerhead nesting success on Juno Beach was 60 percent during the two-month beach closures due to COVID-19 between mid-March and mid-May. When beaches reopened, nesting success dropped to 48 percent. In other words, the data showed that there was a smaller proportion of false crawls during closures, which is when nesting mothers crawl onto the beach and return to the water without laying eggs.
Despite nesting season being officially over on October 31, hatchlings are still anticipated to be observed on local beaches in the next few months. It is advisable to avoid touching unhatched eggs, properly dispose of debris so as to not leave it behind on the beach and fill in holes in the sand, among other best practices.
The nesting sites that we monitor are some of the most densely nested sea turtle beaches in the world. In its several-decade timespan, our Center has developed a comprehensive dataset to promote sea turtle and ocean conservation and has recently produced collaborative manuscripts regarding the impact of heat on hatchling health, mercury concentration in tissues of marine life, common viruses in green sea turtles and more!
Donate to Nesting Research
At Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) we strive to be industry leaders in sea turtle and ocean conservation. Our work is focused on four core pillars, each focused on demonstrating measurable impact. Our team researches and conserves sea turtles, because sea turtles tell us the health of the ocean, which in turn tells us the health of our planet. These critical indicator species serve as our global ambassadors for ocean conservation.
Our PhD lead research biologists monitor one of the most densely nested loggerhead sea turtle beaches in the world. Through our comprehensive datasets and innovative studies, we are able to determine threats affecting the health of our sea turtles, oceans and ultimately us. Our research and datasets are invaluable not only to scientists, but also to local, national and international coastal managers.
Need a reason to celebrate? Our Research Department can give you 16,935. For more ways to support sea turtle research, please consider donating to LMC’s Annual Fund.
If you discover a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle, please call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (*FWC) or LMC’s Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline at 561-603-0211.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 360,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.
Public Relations and Engagement Specialist