Project Title: Characterization Of Marine Turtles On Nearshore Reefs Heavily Impacted By Humans
Project Manager: Cody R. Mott
Organization: Inwater Research Group (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $7,125.00
Summary: Inwater Research Group (IRG) will conduct a study of sea turtles along south Florida nearshore reef. Marine turtles have been consistently documented on the shallow nearshore reefs off of Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, Florida. The reef is easily accessible, has consistently good environmental conditions, and can be surveyed in a single day making it an optimal study location. However, there has not been any effort to systematically quantify the demographics of turtles utilizing the reef in more than 25 years. Additionally, an inlet and pier adjacent to the reef provide an opportunity to better understand how these structures impact turtles inhabiting nearshore reefs. IRG will collect basic demographic and dietary data to thoroughly characterize the local aggregation of sea turtles and acoustically tag a subset of reef captured turtles to track their movements. Separately, Gumbo Limbo Research and Rehabilitation team will collect the same demographic and dietary data from turtles hooked at the Deerfield Beach fishing pier located within the study site. They will also acoustically tag a subset of pier hooked turtles and track their movements. Data from reef captured and pier hooked turtles will then be compared. The goal is to understand if pier hooked turtles solely forage near the pier or are part of the larger group of turtles inhabiting the entire reef tract. This study gives IRG the opportunity to efficiently document the turtles residing on nearshore reefs and through collaboration with another organization, collect additional information on how human activities may impact turtles within the study area.