Capstone Title

Sea Turtle Nesting Preferences and Month by Month Study of Sea Turtle Nesting on Broward County Beaches (1992 thru 2000)

Defense Date

3-25-2001

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Curtis Burney

Second Advisor

Stacy Myers

Abstract

This review was undertaken in the hope of improving the understanding of sea turtle nesting preferences. Literature was reviewed concerning human habitat alteration and natural environmental factors which are related to nest site selection. It appears that human activity and lighting are the most direct causes of false crawls and reduced nesting. The presence of piers, inlets and beach armament also deter emerging females often causing a lack of nests in those areas. Erosion does not seem to effect the female turtles unless such erosion is very severe.

Data was compiled for Caretta caretta (Loggerhead sea turtle), Chelonia mydas (Green sea turtle) and Dermochelys coriacea ( Leatherback sea turtle) during the years of 1992 through 2000 in Broward County. The nesting data was converted to the number of nests per month per survey area and plotted. Data was then formatted as tables and graphs for Hillsboro, Pompano, Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood. Nesting preferences did not change significantly throughout the season. Female emergences were compared to the geographic areas. The accumulated nesting data for 1992 through 2000 from Broward County shows that areas with bright lights, piers, vehicular traffic visible from the beach, sea walls and rock revetments all had decreased nesting densities. This is in accordance with findings of previous studies. The Hillsboro Inlet had low nesting while the northern side of Port Everglades Inlet had high nesting. This may be explained by the accumulation of sand from long shore transport.

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