Our ATV drivers go out at sunrise to find tracks left by nesting sea turtles. The Corolla ATV driver is approached by a local and told about a beautiful crawl just down the beach. This sea turtle mom was determined to get on and off the beach quickly. See how she came in on the left, laid her nest and left on the same path she came in on.
The response team analyzed the nest site and determined the path the turtle took prior to laying her eggs. However, she did a great job hiding those eggs. After a lot of digging, and some great support by the public who cheered us on, the eggs were found! Below is a picture of the egg chamber.
Now comes the fun part of measuring incoming and outgoing tracks, adding data loggers to the nest, and setting up a protective perimeter. Here one data logger is placed in the nest., one is placed on top of the nest, and the last one is placed just outside the nest. Data loggers collect hourly temperature readings. We use this data several ways. First, by comparing readings inside the nest versus outside the nest, we can tell if the eggs are developing. Metabolic heat from developing embryos raises the temperature inside the nest compared to outside the nest. We also use the average nest temperature to help predict when the hatchlings will emerge. Lastly, we are using the data from the logger on top of the nest to determine if we can still accurately predict emergence. This would provide a less invasive means of collecting the data from the nest site.
With the data loggers configured and in place, the team covers up the nest chamber. Stakes with colorful string and flagging protect the area while the eggs develop. Now we wait a couple months while these guys grow into perfect little hatchlings and dig their way to the surface. Congratulations Nest 18 response team!
- nest number: 18
- town: Corolla
- date eggs laid: 06/29/2022
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