Boats Leave Their Mark

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More from Beth already after the jump!

One broad aspect of my research will be to investigate the ecosystem role of sea turtles in the coastal habitats around the Abacos, so we were very happy to see a good number of healthy juvenile turtles during our first week of turtle catching. As these turtles mature and participate in a larger breeding population they will also add economic value to the greater Caribbean as most divers, snorkelers and boaters are eager to have a sea turtle encounter of their own.

Unfortunately, we’ve also seen firsthand one of the consequences of human-turtle interaction gone wrong. On May 7, 2013 we captured a large (69.3 cm) green turtle that had sustained severe injuries from a boat propeller on the eastern side of Elbow Cay just south of the Hope Town lighthouse (N 26ᵒ 32.120, W 76ᵒ 58.103). This turtle had been captured and tagged several years ago in the same area by Thomas and Lory and is now near maturity (breeding age) and appears to be otherwise healthy. The wounds were not fresh, so it is unclear when the accident happened and how long the turtle will be able to survive with these injuries. However, injuries that penetrate the shell are typically fatal as they expose the body cavity to infectious microbes and can cause their lungs to collapse. The pictures are a bit graphic, but clearly show how deep the injuries are.

If you see her in the area or find her stranded please let us know!

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By | 2017-12-01T14:03:48+00:00 May 24th, 2013|Categories: Mangroves and Creeks, Turtles|0 Comments

About the Author:

Craig Layman
My lab’s interdisciplinary pursuits provide for a multi-faceted understanding of environmental change in the coastal realm. We are ecologists, asking questions that span population, community, ecosystem and evolutionary sub-disciplines. We often use a food web based perspective, exploring top-down (e.g., predation) and bottom-up (e.g., nutrient excretion) mechanisms by which animals affect ecosystem processes. All of our efforts are framed within a broader outreach framework, directly integrating science and education, using approaches such as this website.

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