Happy Holidays from Coastal Biology

Wishing all of our family, friends and supporters a safe and festive holiday season and a healthy 2016! Featured in the picture taken off Jupiter Florida are the green alga Caulerpa racemosa, the red alga Kallymenia spp., the vase sponge Niphates digitalis with an arrow crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis) nestled inside, snug as a bug on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Photo by L. Herren

Photo by L. Herren

Update: Only 2 Reservations Left for July!

Our turtle walks are almost completely booked. There are only two (2) reservations left for our last walk on July 25. Like last year we will keep a waiting list in case we receive notice of cancellations. Contact us at info@coastalbiology.org if you would like to be on that list.

We are looking forward to finding nesting loggerheads this weekend and giving participants a great presentation. That being said we have switched up the staff responsibilities. Our turtle biologist, Rick Herren, will be scouting for turtles and our Education Director and the Site Manager for the FIT Marine Lab, Nancy Ho, will be giving the presentation and leading the group. We can't wait!

Commentary on an Interesting Weekend of Turtle Walks

This weekend we successfully conducted turtle walks on Friday and Saturday night and while we didn't get to show the group a turtle on Friday night (more on that below), we had a great group of people join us both nights and we were able to use our night vision to successfully spot turtles in complete darkness (see picture).

The main reason we do turtle walks is to show the public a nesting female without them going out on the beach and potentially spooking them. Because this is a state permitted activity we have to abide by the state and federal permit guidelines, which do not allow us to show the public a green turtle, only loggerheads. Why not? Green turtles are listed as endangered, while loggerheads are listed as threatened. While that is still a fact, there are signs that green turtle populations are coming back in Florida and it appears this year will be another big nesting year for the species. On Friday night we saw 7 turtles on the beach and they were all green turtles. Although some of them false crawled and there are good reasons why green turtles do not make the best performers to watch nesting (email us and we'll give you a laundry list), we hope there will come a day when FWC will allow biologists to show the public nesting green turtles. At this point, the only people on the beach not watching green turtles are those trying to do the right thing by signing up for a turtle walk. We salute you!

A loggerhead nests around 11:45 PM on Saturday night while the group watches her.

A loggerhead nests around 11:45 PM on Saturday night while the group watches her.

First Weekend is Booked, but Plenty of Spots are Still Available for June and July

We are booked solid for this weekends turtle walks. Thank you! Our team is excited to show participants a nesting loggerhead tomorrow night. There are still plenty of opportunities to join us this summer. And, don't forget, this year we have night vision capability so we can view a turtle from a distance and even take pictures of her and the group without any lights!

Available Turtle Walk Reservations as of June 11, 2015

License Plate Grant Awarded for Turtle Walks

We are excited to announce that this year we applied and were awarded funding through the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate Grant Program. The money will go towards three key pieces of equipment to operate our turtle walks:  laptop computer, night vision monocular and projection screen. The night vision monocular will allow us to observe turtles from a distance and accurately determine their nesting stage as well as minimize the chance of disturbing them. The monocular will also have the capability to record video of the nesting event without using any artificial light. We will be sure to post the first turtle walk night-vision video on our website!

So, exactly when will that be? Our turtle walks will begin on June 12th and 13th (Friday and Saturday). There will be 8 turtle walks this year out of the Indian River Shores Community Center every other week from June 12th through July 25th. Turtle walk reservations will go live beginning May 2nd so check back with us in May and be sure to book early.

Loggerhead nesting during the day-time in Vero Beach, FL.

Loggerhead nesting during the day-time in Vero Beach, FL.