A project of Conservancy of Southwest Florida in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
|Name||Species||Life Stage||Release Date||Last Location||Days Transmitted|
|King's tracked turtle||Kemp's Ridley||Immature||2016-12-13||2017-02-06||55|
|Lucy Helen||Kemp's Ridley||Immature||2016-10-27||2017-06-18||234|
|Mistah Larry||Kemp's Ridley||Immature||2016-12-09||2017-05-17||159|
Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.
Satellite telemetry has provided vital information on the movements, migrations, and habitat use of the Kemp's ridley, considered the most endangered of marine turtle species. Accordingly, the revised recovery plan states these studies should be continued since they contribute considerably to our understanding of Kemp's ridley habitat requirements and thus to our ability to protect foraging and migratory habitats. The majority of satellite tracking has occurred in the western Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. Atlantic coast. There is relatively little tracking data for turtles inhabiting the eastern Gulf, particularly foraging grounds along the west coast of Florida. This region provides developmental habitat that is essential to maintaining the viability of this endangered species and information on use of foraging areas and migratory pathways is needed for recovery efforts. Telemetric data can also be used to evaluate the connectivity among the network of marine protected areas in western Florida and the effects of the harmful algae bloom known as "red tide", both of which are priority tasks.
Satellite telemetry revealed a seasonal migration for Kemp's ridley turtles in northwest Florida with turtles emigrating from coastal foraging grounds in the fall, migrating southward and overwintering in offshore waters, and returning to the same foraging area in the spring. Recent tracking studies in the Charlotte Harbor estuary demonstrated that turtles may or may not leave nearshore waters of southwest Florida depending upon the prevailing water temperatures (http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=569). Turtles were also tracked during consecutive red tide events and appeared to be able to detect and subsequently avoid areas with high concentrations of the harmful algae. Radio/sonic telemetry has been used to investigate the activities and habitat use of Kemp's ridley turtles in the Gullivan Bay region of the upper Ten Thousand Islands but it is not known to what extent turtles use the entire archipelago and surrounding waters as foraging habitat. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the movements and migrations of Kemp's ridley turtles inhabiting the Ten Thousand Islands region. The objectives of the study are to identify foraging areas for Kemp's ridleys in the estuarine system and surrounding waters, to characterize their movements and migrations relative to environmental conditions (water temperature, harmful algae blooms, etc.), to establish migratory pathways/corridors in the eastern Gulf, and to explore the connectivity among foraging grounds and marine protected areas.
A red tide bloom occurred offshore and alongshore southwest Florida during 2014 and again in 2016. During both blooms, cell counts of the harmful algae Karenia brevis were in the "medium" range in local waters and dead fish were observed in October and November. Additionally, a fresh dead Kemp's ridley was recovered during the 2016 episode with reports of at least 4 other turtles presumably affected by the red tide. The harmful algae blooms then moved southward with the prevailing currents along the coast.
Research activities are conducted under NMFS permit #18069 and FFWCC permit #136.
This project was supported in part by grants awarded to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org
Our sincere thanks to the generous support provided by the following:
Phil and Kim Collins
Bob and Eileen Hord
Dick Maslow and Patti Stratton
Wayne and Becky Meland
Bob and Casey O'Brien
Tom and Katrina Reusche
Bill and Marilyn Roberts
Evan and Tracy Segal
Henley and Nelly Shotwell
Christopher and Jeannie Smith
David and Vicky Smith
Dolph and Sharon von Arx
John and Carol Walter
Dr. Tony Tucker
Girl Scout Troop 490
Robert and Amy Moses