Over the last 8 years or so, many Caribbean Islands have been challenged by massive Sargassum algae accumulations on beaches (a Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute fact sheet here, and a high resolution link to the poster here). These accumulations may have many deleterious effects on species that utilize beach habitat, including for nesting turtles. See for instance
A recent issue of the journal, International Reptile Conservation Federation (IRCF), contains two short articles featuring recent observations of two new species introductions to Abaco. Below, I relay these findings and offer a few thoughts on what these recent observations suggest for the future of Abaco’s fauna. […]
Recently, large collaborations between sea turtle monitoring programs in the West Atlantic have identified regional declines in growth rates for loggerheads, hawksbills, and greens. Data were used from in-water capture-recapture studies. Karen Bjorndal of the University of Florida has taken the helm on three papers that address the trends for each of these species.
Notably, all species exhibited increases in growth rates […]
A new paper out last month presents the possibility that typical sea turtle population assessment methods via foot patrols may be overestimating nesting populations by as much as a factor of 2. You can view it here.
The paper uses satellite tracking of nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at their study site to show that they lay an average of […]
Satellite tracking data is coming in for the 3 hawksbill sea turtles that received Platform Terminal Transmitters just over a month ago on Long Island, Antigua. The transmitters have 2 “saltwater switches” that, when exposed to air as the turtle surfaces to breathe, trigger the transmission of its location and stored sensor data (temperature, depth). So far we have been tracking […]
Shortly after 2am on July 24th, the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project in Antigua observed our first hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings of the season! Hawksbills typically lay around 150 eggs that will incubate in their sandy chambers for 50-60 days. After hatching, the turtles will rest for one to two days while […]
This month we are planning to deploy 3 satellite tracking devices onto 3 hawksbill females. These are known as Platform Terminal Transmitters (PTTs). They provide information on the offshore movements of sea turtles that are otherwise near impossible to study. Roughly 10 years ago, the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project(JBHP) deployed 3 PTTs, so it will be interesting to revisit the research in […]
The start of July was the one month mark of our hawksbill monitoring season in Antigua. While over 29 years of monitoring (1987-2015) there has been a significant long-term increase in nesting numbers, June 2016 had a puzzlingly low amount of activity relative to previous Junes. We had 15 fewer nests than in June 2015 (24 vs. 39), as well as 8 […]
The 2016 International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS) recently took place in Lima, Peru. I attended and presented a poster on the issue of sargassum accumulation on our nesting beach in Antigua and the rest of the eastern Caribbean. We have touched on this issue in previous posts, including a natural history note that came out in September.
ISTS Lima proved to be an […]
By Stephanie Wenclawski
Here is an update on our drone project looking at how human activities may affect the distribution of marine megafauna such as sea turtles, sharks, and rays (see here and here for previous posts). So far, we have seen more marine wildlife in non-developed areas with just minutes of aerial footage. For more detail on our […]