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Sea Turtle Team

October 10, 2012

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Sea turtles are on the endangered species Red List. The most common species of turtle found in the Bahamas is the green turtle, which we are studying. Previous studies in the Bahamas have included nutrition, grazing, growth rates, and abundance, but none have been conducted on Eleuthera. Our study is currently being conducted just north of Rock Sound in Half Sound, on the Atlantic side of the island. The purpose of our study is to investigate the abundance, size, and distribution of green sea turtles in Half Sound and our hypothesis is that areas with an abundance of sea grass will have dense turtle populations. We have two main methods that we’ve used so far in order to catch these turtles. The first is by boat, in which we take a small skiff to Half Sound. We ride with a spotter at the bow, two swimmers sitting ready at with fins, mask and a snorkel on either side of the boat behind the spotter. When a turtle is spotted, we follow the turtle in the boat until it comes up three times for air. After its third breath we send a swimmer after the turtle until they can scoop it up under its flippers. We then bring the turtle back to the boat where we measure, weigh, tag, and release it. The second method we have used is netting. We place a net in shallow water, and then try to herd the turtles to the net where we can again measure, weigh, tag, and release them. By dividing Half Sound into six zones, we will be able to answer some of our questions through capture-mark-recapture. We are looking forward to answering some of our study’s questions and gaining more knowledge about sea turtles in the Bahamas and how we can protect them. Go team turtle!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    October 10, 2012 10:28 am

    This is so cool. Who is in the turtle team and how do students get to be on this team?

    • October 10, 2012 10:33 am

      The ‘turtle team’ is the group of Island School students studying sea turtles for their research class this semester. They choose their research group at the beginning of the semester and often refer to themselves as a ‘team’ throughout the semester.

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