Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Online Database Helps Track Nesting Sea Turtles

Nesting numbers are rising and residents and sea turtle enthusiasts alike are anxious to know which of Georgia’s barrier islands will be in the lead this year. A new online database will now make this friendly competition simpler to follow.

The database housed at Seaturtle.org tracks nests in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Visitors to the site can see the number of nests by location as well as other information including nest losses and false crawls, where a female turtle comes ashore and then leaves without nesting. Information is updated in real-time as members of Georgia’s Sea Turtle Cooperative enter their findings.

2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the cooperative, a milestone for sea turtle conservation. Coordinated by the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the group of volunteers, researchers and biologists from various agencies monitor turtle nesting activities on Georgia beaches. The new database will make it easier for the cooperators to share their information.

“The new database management system is exciting because it allows us to monitor sea turtle nesting in real-time and make more timely management decisions,” said Mark Dodd, Senior wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, Nongame Conservation Section and Sea Turtle Coordinator. “ In addition, it allows cooperators who are often isolated on barrier islands to see what is happening on nearby beaches.”

Sea turtle nesting data is crucial in monitoring populations, formulating protective regulations, making management decisions, and maximizing reproduction for recovery.

To view the new database visit: http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/index.shtml?view=3&t=1243875719

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