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Charlotte Harbor - Kemp's ridleys

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Sighting data and field surveys to study the in-water ecology of marine turtles in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary. more

A number of long-term tagging studies have been conducted to characterize aggregations of marine turtles in nearshore areas of western Florida, but information gaps still exist along the extensive west coast. These gaps are of importance as this region represents developmental habitat that is critical to the viability of the endangered Kemp’s ridley turtle. Mote Marine Laboratory has collected extensive sighting data and conducted field surveys to study the in-water ecology of marine turtles in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary. These surveys have documented habitat partitioning among the species and identified certain areas in estuarine complex as foraging habitat for Kemp’s ridleys, but efforts have been hampered by the after effects of hurricanes and the ineffectiveness of set nets in capturing turtles. Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Mote Marine Laboratory are currently collaborating on in-water studies to characterize marine turtle aggregations inhabiting eastern Pine Island Sound using active fishing methods (i.e., strike netting). Kemp's ridley turtles in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico exhibit seasonal occurrence in nearshore waters and satellite telemetry has been used to investigate their winter migration along the west coast of Florida. Similar studies are needed to determine their seasonal distribution and possible migrations in the relatively warmer waters of the southwestern Florida. Locational data from satellite telemetry can also be used to assess the potential impacts from storm water management in upland areas (i.e., release of Lake Okeechobee water via Caloosahatchee River), harmful algal blooms in nearshore and offshore waters (i.e., red tide events), as well as interactions with fisheries and petroleum exploration/extraction in offshore waters. Tracking efforts will provide a better understanding of how Kemp’s ridleys use Charlotte Harbor estuary and surrounding waters. Research activities are conducted under NMFS permit #13544 and FFWCC permit #136. A red tide bloom affected southwest Florida from September 2011 through January 2012. The highest concentrations were in the Gulf waters south of Sanibel Island and a number of Kemp's ridley turtles stranded in this area. Updates on the status of Florida red tides are available at the following: Project partners: Conservancy of Southwest Florida ( Mote Marine Laboratory ( NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center ( This project was supported in part by grants awarded to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at Our sincere thanks to the generous support provided by the following: Naples Best Addresses (, Turtle Club Restaurant (, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (, Jan Bachrach, Christopher and Jeannie Smith, David and Vicky Smith, Wayne and Rebecca Meyland, Thomas and Vickie Snead, and Richard and Beverly Smith.

Biology > Reptiles
Marine, A, North Atlantic, ASW, Mexico Gulf, Lepidochelys kempii (Garman, 1880)

Geographical coverage
A, North Atlantic [Marine Regions]
ASW, Mexico Gulf [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
19 November 2010 - 13 December 2011

Taxonomic coverage
Lepidochelys kempii (Garman, 1880) [WoRMS]

Mote Marine Laboratory, moredata owner

Related datasets
Published in:
OBIS-SEAMAP: Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations, more

Dataset status: Completed
Data type: Data
Data origin: Research: field survey
Metadatarecord created: 2012-11-23
Information last updated: 2016-06-30
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