Marine Team Participates In-Water Turtle Survey
In late April, ERI Marine Biologist, Celso Cawich and Marine Field Technician, Jani Salazar spent a week chasing behind sea turtles, all in the name of science!
On April 21st the duo travelled to Middle Caye of the Glovers Reef Atoll to participate in a week long turtle survey in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Day one was spent prepping for the survey, getting familiarized with the survey methodology, specie identification and distance estimation.
The following day, the guys hit the water along with representatives from the WCS, Fisheries Department and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. On this day, the team captured a large green turtle weighing some 40kg and it was tagged with a satellite tracker.
With 2 boats, 8 snorkelers, a measuring team and 2 vets the group was able to survey an average of three sites per day, running a total of 16 transects around the atoll. Over 20 sea turtles were captured and went through the process of being measured, tagged, sampled and finally, released. Of the 20 turtles captured, 2 were Green turtles along with a single Loggerhead. The remainder were Hawksbill turtles. Apart from those captured, another 90 turtle were sighted and again, majority of those were Hawksbill turtles.
It was a successful survey as Celso and Jani got the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the survey methodology and put into practice the sighting and capturing of the sea turtles along with the other elements of processing including measuring and tagging. This knowledge is crucial since the ERI plans to conduct similar monitoring efforts at the Turneffe Atoll this coming June; an effort that will bring together scientists from the Oceanic Society, UB student volunteers and fishermen from the atoll.