USING SURVEYS AS A TOOL TO ASSESS SEA TURTLE DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT USE, AND TO PROMOTE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN ENDANGERED SPECIES RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT
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Female loggerhead sea turtles nesting on Bald Head Island, N.C. were equipped with satellite transmitters to assess their post-nesting movements and habitat use. The resulting surface satellite data revealed foraging and overwintering sites used by these sea turtles, but data provide limited benthic habitat information. To complement this data, a survey was developed to target N.C. dive shops, fishermen and offshore researchers to gather information in an effort to characterize the features of these habitats. An online survey and database will allow for public reporting of sea turtle sightings data and habitat information to complement existing long-term observation studies. By engaging the public in this citizen-scientist approach to sea turtle monitoring, these efforts may promote state-wide awareness and conservation efforts for sea turtles, as well as provide valuable data to researchers. The survey will eventually be expanded to accommodate global sightings reports and data will be managed through regional networks.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
SubjectLoggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Bald Head Island, North Carolina
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