Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Joseph Buttner

Abstract

Understanding a species is very important to manage it effectively. Effective conservation efforts require detailed, accurate information. Such information is lacking for Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta, which are currently listed as endangered. Thorough data for all marine turtles, not just Loggerhead Sea Turtles is nonexistent, such as on details of their life cycle and demography. The majority of management practices focus on nesting females, eggs, and hatchlings. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is permitted through Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to conduct Nesting Surveys in Pinellas County, Florida. Data collected through surveys for nesting seasons 2010 through 2015, inclusive, was analyzed for trends within and between nesting seasons. Trends observed supported a high success rate of hatching success and emergence success for nests in this region. It is suggested that post beach renourishment hatching success and emergence success rates increased versus pre-renourishment. It appeared that risks associated with nest relocation are less than the risks associated with washouts and a complete loss of the nest. Nesting surveys provide useful insight into where efforts and resources should be targeted. More studies should be conducted to confirm.

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