A project of SCDNR Marine Turtle Conservation Program in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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The beach selected for this study was Cape Island in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Cape Island is nine km long and is located at 33.02' degrees north and by 79.21' degrees west. It is the most significant loggerhead nesting beach north of Cape Canaveral, Florida with an average of 1,000 nests per season. The uninhabited beach is steep with coarse sand. Satellite transmitters were attached to fifteen adult female loggerheads in July of 1998, 2002 and 2003 (five each year). The back pack transmitters weigh approximately 800 grams and represent less than three percent of the turtle's body weight. They are linked to the Argos satellite system consisting of four satellites in polar orbit. Data from the satellites are received daily via email. A box is placed around each turtle to restrict her movements while the transmitter is affixed. The carapace is prepared for the attachment of the transmitter by removing barnacles and other organisms. A roll of Sonic Weld? is placed around the bottom edge of the transmitter and then Fast Foil epoxy is applied to the entire bottom surface with a glue gun. The transmitter is placed on the second vertebral scute and allowed to harden for 20 minutes. The turtle is then released to the ocean. With minimum transmitter failure, the non-nesting seasonal movements and habitat use of these South Carolina loggerheads will be documented. This research was funded in part with a grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act.
This project is a cooperative effort between the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funding is provided in part through a grant from NOAA Fisheries under a Section 6 Cooperative Agreement of the Endangered Species Act. KiwiSat 101 satellite transmitters were provided by Sirtrack Limited, Inc. This project participates in the Caribbean Conservation Corporation Sea Turtle Tracking Program.