Research Satellite Tagging
New Satellite Tagging Research Develops a Census for our Seas
Using satellite tags, researchers at Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) are collecting important data on loggerhead sea turtles and their nesting habits. The research project will track seven loggerheads in 2020 to analyze clutch frequencies (i.e., the multiple incidents in which a nesting sea turtle lays her eggs in a single season) and internesting intervals (i.e., the time between each nesting event). Three of the seven turtles – named Benji, Pappas, and Carlin – are being sponsored by regional and national organizations, including The Benjamin School (Benji), Illustrated Properties (Pappas) and Great Lakes Dredge and Docks Company (GLDD) (Carlin).
Ongoing tasks will utilize real-time tracking technology to document and discover where each tagged female nests throughout the 2020 nesting season. LMC researchers have conducted daily dawn nesting patrols in northern Palm Beach County since 1987. However, the total nest counts each year does not equate to the same number of females who nested on local shores, because turtles lay multiple clutches in a single season. But continued grant-funded research will help illuminate how many nests an individual female lays within a season.
“There is a lot of census information baked into our nest counts,” said LMC Senior Manager of Research and Data, Sarah Hirsch. “Using nest counts is one of the most simple and efficient ways to uncover trends in sea turtle nest counts over large regions and time periods. We don’t want to devalue those numbers, but having a greater understanding on how many nests a single female contributes to the yearly total nest count is extremely important for us to be able to properly estimate population size.
The data collected from the sponsored sea turtles will go far beyond LMC research publications. Benji will be weaved into The Benjamin School curriculum as a first-hand, educational resource. Pappas will represent the relationship between a healthy planet, and in turn, a healthy real estate market for Illustrated Properties consumers. And Carlin will symbolize GLDD conscientious efforts with LMC to protect critical nesting sites during its beach re-nourishment project
This project was funded in part by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org.
Track Benji, Pappas and Carlin on their respective pages below!