It’s the happiest time of the year at Rookery Bay Research Reserve – sea turtle nesting season! On Saturday May 1st, the official first day of nesting season in the Reserve, the very first nest was discovered!
From now until fall, the sea turtle team will patrol the beaches of the reserve each day looking for signs of sea turtle nesting. When sea turtles come up on the sand to lay their eggs, they leave marks in the sand much like tire tracks and there’s an indent where the nest is buried. The team places a cage around the nest to protect it from predators such as racoons.
They also note the location of the nest with GPS. In approximately 60 days, the nest will begin to hatch and the team waits and watches for hatchling baby sea turtles. All the nesting and hatchling data is shared with county and state-wide partners to monitor and conserve sea turtle populations in Florida for generations to come.
Joining the team this summer are two interns – Jessica D’Auria, a graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy and Alex Murray, graduate of Virginia Tech. Watch the Rookery Bay sea turtle team in action on this short clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM417haekhs
Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We are committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection.