2016 is the year of records and rarities

We kicked off the season with the unusual capture of a leatherback in the Indian River Lagoon, followed by a rare capture of a juvenile Kemp’s ridley. On the nesting beach, we broke the previous leatherback record for most nests on the Brevard Carr Refuge. But the turtles didn’t stop there! We documented a rare adult Kemp’s ridley nesting during the day, and a likely hawksbill-loggerhead hybrid! Oh, and the loggerheads are nesting like crazy–we are on track for a great season!!


Rare daytime Kemp’s ridley nester on the Archie Carr NWR. Photo: K. Mills.

The 2016 season starts with a bang!

The 2016 nesting season has begun and it is shaping up to be the year of the leatherbacks. So far, we’ve counted almost 40 leatherback nests including a couple from our long-time favorite “China Girl” who is back for her 22nd season on the Archie Carr NWR.

We were also surprised and amazed this week when we caught a petite leatherback in the Indian River Lagoon as part of our permitted, and long-term field work. In the 35+ year history of lagoon fieldwork, UCF Marine Turtle Research Group has only encountered one other leatherback. Amazing!


Photo by K. Mansfield, taken as part of our permitted research activities.

Green turtles break another nest record

The 2013 record green turtle year was not a fluke. To date, we have recorded over 12,000 green turtle nests on the Brevard Co. portion of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. From 1982 to 2004, The UCF Marine Turtle Research Group recorded 12,941 green turtle nests TOTAL over that entire time span. This is an incredible conservation story!


Green turtle finishing her nesting as the sun rises on the Archie Carr NWR. Photo: G. Stahelin.

Green turtle love is in the air

It is shaping up to be an early year for nesting, especially for loggerheads and greens. With so many mating pairs of green turtles washing in the surf, we’ve managed to satellite tag four male greens so far (two more tags to go!).  Photo by C. Long (2015)


The 2015 season is off to a great start

The loggerheads are nesting like crazy. We had over ~200 nests in April (APRIL!) alone along with some early and unexpected greens! This past weekend, we successfully tagged our first male green turtle of the season as part of a project funded by the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate Grants program. Bring on the turtles!!1st male 1

UCF MTRG is awarded THREE Florida License Plate Grants

A HUGE thanks to the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate program. We received three grants from them this funding cycle! These include funding: (1) for a much-needed new boat (!!); (2) to continue satellite tracking male green turtles; and (3) to analyze and collect new data on the foraging ecology of nesting green turtle females on the Archie Carr NWR.SeaTurtleLicensePlate_logo