Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Abstract

The beaches of Miami-Dade County, Florida are a prevalent nesting site for loggerhead and green sea turtles, however, extensive beach erosion is threatening these critical sea turtle nesting habitats. Beach nourishment projects occur along the beaches of Miami-Dade County to aid in the loss of shorelines. The projects are completed by transporting offshore or upland sediment onshore. This research examines how loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtle nesting behaviors relate to monitored project areas within Miami-Dade County. Long term data on nesting response in project areas are essential but studies are scarce. This study aims to correlate different aspects of nesting behavior and nesting frequency in project areas vs non-project areas in Miami-Dade County for the 2017 nesting season. The loggerhead sea turtle and green sea turtle nesting and non-nesting emergence data was obtained from the Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program through work under a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) marine turtle permit. Nest locations throughout the county were assessed using a Geographic Information System (GIS) geodatabase. Results found that there is no significant relationship between project areas and nesting frequency and nesting trends in Miami-Dade County. Density maps were completed and found both green and loggerhead turtles nest in both project and non-project areas but, higher densities of nest and non-nesting emergencies were found in project areas. Nesting success rates and distance from mean high water and dune had no significant relationship with project areas. Final digging activity also was also found to have no significant relationship with project areas. Miami-Dade County has never mapped nor researched how sea turtle nesting behaviors respond to project areas, thus making this study a vital component for future studies and conservation efforts.

Comments

Department: MES

MPS track: ESC

Location: Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program

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