Project Title: Adult green turtles (Chelonia mydas) of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Project Manager: Dean Bagley
Organization: University of Central Florida (Research and Educational Institute)
Grant Amount: $27,825.00
Completion Date: 2017-11-29
Summary: This project will satellite track two green turtle mating pairs and conduct studies specific to each sex. Both males and females will be sampled for genetics. We will follow the satellite-tracked females for clutch frequency, site fidelity, body condition, inter-nesting location and foraging grounds. We will mark each of the female’s nests for determining nest incubation temperatures, reproductive success, and hatchling sex ratio. Satellite data will show how long each sex remains at the beach, the migratory routes used and final destinations at their respective foraging grounds. Areas of special use at the nesting beach will be identified for each sex, and kernel home range estimates will be generated when they return to foraging areas.
Results: While it was not possible to encounter each female at each nest attempt, satellite data indicated that the two nesting females laid six and seven nests, respectively. Time spent at the nesting beach for the females was 88 days each. These two females were tagged on the same night approximately two kilometers apart, and were recaptured on the same night weeks later. They departed the Carr Refuge on the same day, despite Lola having laid her final clutch two days earlier. Other tracked turtles departed immediately after laying their final clutch (Bagley, unpublished data). They initially traveled nearly opposite each other, with Lola closely following Jocelyn, until Lola’s transmitter ceased at almost the same location where Jocelyn foraged. Stable isotope analysis confirms that Lola’s foraging area is close to that of Jocelyn (see below). Sir William spent 17 days off the nesting beach before migrating to South Vero Beach. Frankie spent only five days at the Carr Refuge before relocating for another 25 days off beaches between the Ft. Pierce and St. Lucie inlets, before migrating south.