Four green sea turtles tagged amid nesting increase in southwest Florida
Four nesting female green sea turtles were tagged with satellite transmitters by Mote Marine Laboratory scientists in the past few weeks on Casey Key, with the goal of tracking this threatened species whose nests counts are increasing on southwest Florida beaches.
“Amelia” was tagged June 21, “Freda” was tagged on June 17, “June” was tagged June 16 and “Thalia” was tagged May 29. Mote scientists are monitoring their locations in near-real time, and the public can follow along by viewing the “nesting female green sea turtles” map at https://mote.org/sea-turtle-tracking.
Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program monitors sea turtle nesting on 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches — Longboat Key through Venice — during each day of nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31. From the end of May through July 31, Mote scientists conduct nighttime patrols to encounter, tag and learn about nesting turtles on an individual level. Most local nests are laid by loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), but nest counts from green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) have increased notably since Mote detected the first local green nest in its 37-year monitoring history, in 1994. Green nests are historically more common along southeast Florida, and their counts increased slowly in southwest Florida for a time but truly ramped up within the past decade. In 2017, Mote counted a record 79 green nests locally, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported a statewide record count.
“In recent years the numbers of green nests have increased exponentially,” said Mote Senior Biologist Kristen Mazzarella. “For our 99% loggerhead nesting beach, having so many green nests is very exciting.”