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Sea Turtle Preservation Society's introduction to Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Preservation Society's introduction to Sea Turtles

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  • According to FFWCC: SE US holds the world’s largest nessting aggregation of loggerhead sea turtles Also: Florida’s green turtle nesting aggregation is the second largest in the western hemisphere (Where is the largest? Tortuguero Costa Rica – where sea turtle conservation began under the guidance of Archie Carr) Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherbacks regularly nest. Brevard co is #1 for Cc and Cm; #4 for Dc So far in 2013 CM have out nested Cc in the Archie Carr NWR: over 1100 nests on 13 miles of beach.
  • The Brevard Zoo was recently approved by FFWCC to build a sea turtle facility in the area of their new Zoo Hospital.This facility is scheduled to be started in early Oct. STPS has provided equipment and financial assistance in this joint endeavor. The sick and injured sea turtles in Brevard County will soon have a facility and veternairy care in our area and will no longer need to be transported long distances for treatment. STPS will continue to participate in the rescue and transport of sick and injured sea turtles.
  • The primary focus of STPS is Education, both formal and informal.STPS participates in many school and enviornmental events. Informal education or “beach” education is on going.We use the beach cards (handed out) to inform people about turtle nesting on our beach, simple dos and don’ts and also numbers to call in emergencies.
  • STPS is responsible for care of sick, injured or dead sea turtles in Brevard Co. Currently these turtles are transported around the state for medical careThe STERP is a program for mobilizing large numbers of volunteers in emergency situations: cold stuns, red tide events, etc. Included in STERP is a program authorized by the state to rescue sea turtles that wash back on to shore after storm events. Both programs require permits or authorization through the FFWCC. In order to be on a permit or LOA it is necessary to attend a specific training program. Turtle 101 is the first step in training for these activities.
  • Nest Survey is conducted every day from April 20 through Oct. 800 miles of beach is surveyed in FL every summer.STPS surveys 4 ½ miles of beach in the south Cocoa Bch area (PAFB to Lori Wilson Park). Information from these surveys provides valuable information on nesting and hatchling numbers throughout the state.
  • Nest Survey is conducted every day from April 20 through Oct. 800 miles of beach is surveyed in FL every summer.STPS surveys 4 ½ miles of beach in the south Cocoa Bch area (PAFB to Lori Wilson Park). Information from these surveys provides valuable information on nesting and hatchling numbers throughout the state.
  • Sea Turtles spend most of their life in the sea. They are air breathing animals, but they can stay under water for long periods of time. When in distress (caught in a net) they run out of air quickly.
  • Archelon skeletons have been found in No & So Dakota, Neb and Ks. At one time (dinosaur era) the midwest region was a large sea. The largest skeleton found was 16’ long and 13’ wide.
  • There are 7 species of sea turtles worldwide. 1 specie, the flatback is only found in the coastal waters of Australia. All of the other species travel large distances in the oceans, mainly in the tropical, sub tropical and temperate zones. 5 Species (shown on slide with relative size comparison) are found in FL waters, three nest regularly on FL beaches. Kemps and Hawksbill are rare nesters in this area.
  • A very unique creature! It is the sole species in its scientific family. The Dc does not have a hardshell, its body is entirely encased in a thick leathery skin. This reptile can dive to over 3000 ft. below sea level. It can decompress to tolerate pressure changes and it also has the ability to regulate its body temperture by shunting its blood. This prevents cold stun from occurring as it forages for its favorite food, jelly fish in very cold water off of Nova Scotia.The leather back’s mouth (show skull) has structures (downward projections) that prevent the jellyfish from sliding out
  • Egg, hatchling, juvenile and Adult
  • Green Sea Turtle body pit
  • Covering eggs and leaving the nest
  • Returning to the sea
  • Loggerhead tracks are comma shaped and alternating, the loggerhead goes up the beach like it is doing the “crawl” Because the loggerhead has shorter front flippers, the back flippers are predominant.
  • The nest site is usually mid beach between the high tide line and the dunes. The sea turtle came up on the right side of the picture, started one body pit, but changed it mind and went further up. Nested in area where the tracks end and there is a mound of sand. Exited to the left.
  • Another viewpoint as the turtle returns to the sea
  • Green sea turtle is larger than the loggerhead and has longer flippers. The tracks are parallel as the green sea turtle uses the breast stroke to come up the beach. Most of the time the green turtle tracks are “straight arrow” and they have a distinct tail drag that looks like an exclamation point!
  • Green sea turtles typically nest in the dune area of the beach. They leave a very impressive hest are. Huge amounts of thrown sand and a very large body pit area.
  • Another perspective. Note the longer tail on the green sea turtle. Even though it is longer than that of the loggerhead, it is small in comparison to the tale of a male sea turtle.
  • Leatherback track is huge! This one measured 6’10”. Most of the track is made by the long front flippers. They may also have a tail drag, but it is usually continuous. The crawl of the Dc is serpentine.
  • The cover a huge area for nesting and throwing sand. Often they will have an orientation circle after they nest.
  • Dc returning to the sea after nesting.
  • I would like to insert a video clip here if that works. If it is too much trouble that is o.k. I will send the video separately.
  • Once out of the nest the hatchlings proceed very quickly to the ocean. This period of time after hatching is called the “frenzy” and may last for 24-48 hrs. They have a huge amount of energy from the yolk sac they absorbed into their body before hatching.
  • Raccoon predation of a turtle nest
  • Sea gulls and other shore birds
  • Global and local Needs formatting color and design. Remove balloons
  • Global Needs formatting to keep background and lettering consistent
  • Global
  • Local
  • Add text: Man made artificial nourishment/Natural beach rebuilding and dune stabilization
  • Local Plastic is made from a non renewable resource – petroleum and it does not biodegrade. It will be in our enviornment for many generations to come. Remember the 4 R’s: Reduce your use, reuse when possible, recycle and most of all refuse.
  • Change picture
  • Local
  • Local: Dogs on the beach
  • Beach Obstructions: Items left on the beach
  • Local Holes in the Beach
  • It’s a long journey and only 1 in 1000 survive to adulthood
  • Add Quote: “For most of the wild things on earth the future must depend upon the conscience of mankind” Dr. Archie Carr


  • 1. The Sea Turtle Preservation Society Presents Turtle Talk
  • 2. Sea Turtles are Reptiles and Florida is one of their Favorite Spots
  • 3. What is “The Sea Turtle Preservation Society”? We are a not-for-profit all volunteer organization whose mission statement is “Helping Sea Turtles Survive.” We accomplish this through: • Education and public outreach programs: o Schools and civic groups o Exhibits at area events • Hands-on Permitted Fish and Wildlife Commission Activities o Turtle Walks o Salvage and Stranding Network o Nest Surveys • Partnership with Brevard Zoo to build the Brevard Sea Turtle Healing Center, a sea turtle medical facility in Brevard County
  • 4. Education School Classrooms Local Organizations Environmental Fairs
  • 5. Sea Turtle Walks Egg laying process is illuminated with a specific type of red light used by STPS – NO other lights are allowed. Conducting guided loggerhead sea turtle watches for visitors to our area during the months of June and July (Reservations start May 1st)
  • 6. Sea Turtle Salvage and Stranding Network STERP (Sea Turtle Emergency Response Program) includes letter of authorization to participate in Washback Sea Turtle recovery. Caring for sick, injured or dead sea turtles in Brevard County
  • 7. Nest Surveys Nesting Survey conducted daily throughout the summer nesting season.
  • 8. Beach Cleanup and Turtle Krawl STPS has adopted Coconut Point Park as part of the Keep Brevard Beautiful Adopt a Shore project. Cleanup is 1st Saturday after the 1st Thursday of each month from 8-10am. Turtle Krawl race is in September and is the largest 5K race in Brevard County. TK is the major fund raiser for STPS Special Projects.
  • 9. Laws That Protect Sea Turtles • Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 – Leatherback - 1970 – Loggerhead and Green added July 28, 1978 Source NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) signed by 176 Nations to ensure international trade does not threaten survival of the species Source www.cites.org
  • 10. Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Sea Turtle Conservation • Established by Congress in 1989 to protect sea turtles and named after the ecologist Dr. Archie Carr, Jr. • 20.5 Miles between Melbourne Beach & Wabasso Beach. • Most significant area for Loggerhead nesting in Western Hemisphere, possibly now in the World. • Most significant area for Green nesting in North America. • Minor area for Leatherback nesting. Source: Sea Turtle Conservancy website
  • 11. Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Represents the Nation's most important initiative to protect the world's populations of marine turtles Source: Conserveturtles.org
  • 12. Source: Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge SPECIES 2013 2012 2011 Loggerhead 13,155 *18,809 11,841 Green *12,846 3,419 6,023 Leatherback 49 51 *77 Kemps Ridley 2 0 0 Archie Carr NWR Sea Turtle Nest Update * Indicates record year
  • 13. Source: fwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/nesting/statewide/ 2013 Florida Sea Turtle Nest Update Species Brevard County Statewide Loggerhead 24,630 77,970 Green 18,190 36,369 Leatherback 76 895 Kemps Ridley 2 4 Hawksbill 0 1
  • 14. Sea Turtles
  • 15. Sea Turtles General Information • They have been around for 150 million years • Archelon skeletons have been found in No & So Dakota Ne and Ks • The largest skeleton ever found was 16’ long and 13’ wide Archelon – ancestor to the modern day sea turtle
  • 16. Adaptations to Marine Life • Air breathing – sea turtles must come to the surface to breathe • Modified feet and shells for swimming Tortoise – high domed shell with feet modified for walking
  • 17. Relative Sizes of Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 18. Kemps Ridley (Endangered) Sea Turtle Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 19. Kemps Ridley •Adult Size - 24-28 inches (61-71 cm) •Adult Weight - 80-100 Lbs (36-45 Kg) •Diet - crustaceans & mollusks
  • 20. Kemps Ridley (Endangered) Hawksbill (Endangered) Sea Turtle Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 21. Hawksbill • Adult Size - 30-36 inches (76-91 cm) • Adult Weight - 100-150 lbs (45-68 Kg) • Diet - sponges
  • 22. Loggerhead (Threatened) Kemps Ridley (Endangered) Hawksbill (Endangered) Sea Turtle Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 23. Loggerhead • Adult Size - 32-41 in. (81-104 cm) • Adult Weight - 200-300 lbs (91-136 kg) • Diet - crustaceans & mollusks • Average 14,600 nests in ACNWR 2011-2013
  • 24. Green (Endangered) Loggerhead (Threatened) Kemps Ridley (Endangered) Hawksbill (Endangered) Sea Turtle Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 25. Green • Adult Size - 38-42 inches long (81-107 cm) • Adult Weight - 250-350 pounds (113-159 Kg) • Diet - marine grasses & algae • Average 7,400 nests in ACNWR 2011-2013
  • 26. Green (Endangered) Leatherback (Endangered) Loggerhead (Threatened) Kemps Ridley (Endangered) Hawksbill (Endangered) Sea Turtle Species Found in Florida Waters
  • 27. Leatherback • Adult Size - 6-8 feet long (1.8-2.4 M) • Adult Weight - 700-1800 pounds (318-816 Kg) • Diet – jellyfish
  • 28. Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle Adult Juvenile Hatchling Egg
  • 29. Mating Adults
  • 30. Green Sea Turtle Body Pit
  • 31. Eggs being deposited in the sand
  • 32. Covering the Eggs
  • 33. Covering and leaving the nest
  • 34. Returning to the Sea
  • 35. Turtle Tracks: Which Turtle Is It?
  • 36. Loggerhead Sea Turtle Tracks: Alternating Flippers
  • 37. Loggerhead Nest
  • 38. Sea Turtle Tracks: Parallel Flippers and Tail Drag Green
  • 39. Green Nest
  • 40. Sea Turtle Tracks: Width of Tracks ~ 6’ across Leatherback
  • 41. Leatherback Nest
  • 42. Hatchlings emerge from the nest 45 to 70 days later, depending on species sand temperature and other factors Sex of hatchlings is determined approximately middle 3rd of incubation period depending on nest temperature 82ºF - males 88ºF - females or remember Hot Chicks And Cool Dudes
  • 43. Emerging from the nest
  • 44. Tiny Tracks from a Hatched Nest
  • 45. Dash to the Sea
  • 46. Hatchlings of Four Different Species Loggerhead Hawksbill Green Leatherback
  • 47. Hatchlings Swim 20 miles to Safety and Food
  • 48. Blend in with Sargassum Seaweed
  • 49. Threats To Sea Turtles There are two main types of threats. (1) Natural Predators (2) Human Impacts •Global •Local
  • 50. Raccoon predation of a turtle nest
  • 51. Ants
  • 52. Ghost Crabs
  • 53. Sea gulls and other shore birds
  • 54. Fish
  • 55. Beach Erosion
  • 56. Threats To Sea Turtles There are two main types of threats. (1) Natural Predators (2) Human Impact •Global •Local
  • 57. Commercial Fisheries
  • 58. Shrimp Trawler with TEDs
  • 59. Turtle Excluder Device (TED) for shrimp trawling nets
  • 60. Egg Poaching
  • 61. Products made from Turtles Cosmetics Food Items
  • 62. Sea Walls and Armoring
  • 63. Beach Renourishment Man-made Artificial Nourishment Natural beach rebuilding and dune stabilization OR
  • 64. Plastic
  • 65. Fishing Line
  • 66. Oil Spill
  • 67. Fibropapillomatosis Some turtles with Fibropapillomatosis can be rehabilitated
  • 68. Boat Strikes
  • 69. Beach Activity – Disturbing Nesting Turtle
  • 70. Beach Lighting Turtles need dark beaches. Hatchlings go toward brightest light. Reminder: Lights out May 1st – Oct 31st
  • 71. Dogs on the Beach
  • 72. Beach Obstructions: Items left on the Beach
  • 73. Holes in the Beach
  • 74. It’s a long journey and only 1 in 1000 survive to adulthood
  • 75. Keep In Touch With STPS Our Website: http://seaturtlespacecoast.org On Facebook: https://facebook.com/SeaTurtlePreservationSociety
  • 76. Photo Credits • Barbara Bergwerf • Rajiv Bhambri • Tammy Bolerjack • Carol Hansen • Dori Hughes • Alejandro Fallabrino • Fabio Picinato • Edward Rosack • Jay Wherley • Blair Witherington • Ann Zscheile