Mote Marine's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program Documents the First 2020 Sea Turtle Nest

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SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY APR 21, 2020

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is very pleased to share that sea turtles have officially arrived on Sarasota's beaches. Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program (STCRP) began monitoring Sarasota area beaches last week, finding the first nest early Monday morning on Siesta Key. Other signs of sea turtles included a false crawl (sea turtle comes on the beach but returns to the ocean without creating a nest) on Longboat Key, also documented on Monday.

The nest was created by a loggerhead sea turtle, Sarasota's most abundant nester. On the west coast of Florida, Sarasota County is the most dense area of loggerhead nesting. Green sea turtles nest on area beaches as well, and although relatively low in number, STCRP has documented an increase in green sea turtle nests in Sarasota in the last 20 years.

The start of nest monitoring has already proven to be different from previous years in the face of beach closures due to COVID19. Mote's monitoring of sea turtle nests is vital to monitoring the population of these endangered species, and in accordance with state and local guidelines, Mote is continuing its long history of sea turtle patrol on Sarasota-area beaches. All monitoring is conducted with permission from local government to allow access to closed beaches, and Mote sea turtle patrol is conducting all activities with a heightened awareness for social distancing and cleaning procedures. Mote's sea turtle activities are conducted under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Turtle Permits 027, 054, 070, 048, and 028.

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