Big Bend Florida

2014 Update

This summer, we conducted two research trips to the Crystal River area and an additional trip to Steinhatchee to continue our research endeavors in the Big Bend. Overall, we observed well over 300 sea turtles and captured and collected data from 130 of them! In total, this year we captured 5 loggerheads, 72 green turtles, and 53 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, ranging in size from small juveniles to adults! We are in the process of analyzing our data and will present more detailed results in the near future.

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This project was funded in part by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program (Grant #14-035R). 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.

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Sea Turtle Captures – June 2013

After analyzing data from the 2012 sampling period, in June 1013 we conducted a research trip to the Crystal River area of the Big Bend in an attempt to capture sea turtles to collect more data. This project was funded in part by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program (Grant #13-010R). 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.

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With this funding, we were able to capture 43 turtles over six days. This consisted of 14 green turtles and 29 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. We are currently in the process of analyzing the data (waiting for the results of sex determination and genetics) and planning another trip to the Steinhatchee study site.

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Sea Turtle Survey – June 2012

From June 6th to June 11th, Inwater Research Group (IRG) biologists conducted vessel based visual surveys to quantify sea turtle densities at two sites in the Big Bend region of Florida’s west coast; Steinhatchee and Crystal River.  This project was funded by a grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North Florida Ecological Service’s Coastal Program. During field sampling activities, IRG conducted over 240 km of transects and identified 104 green turtles, 37 Kemp’s Ridleys and 9 loggerheads for a calculated abundance of 0.63 turtles per km of transect.  What this means is that there are a lot of sea turtles in the near shore waters of the Big Bend region of Florida. However within this region there were certain areas that had higher abundances of sea turtles than others. For instance, shallow habitat off the St. Martins Keys had over twice the relative abundance of sea turtles than our overall total.