The 2015 Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project monitoring season is coming to a close on November 15 after 5.5 months of hourly monitoring every night! It will be bittersweet, as it will be nice to get a break from the nocturnal schedule and 7 day per week grind, but will be sad to leave such fun work on the beach. It has been a productive season, with over 70 turtles documented laying more than 275 nests (and counting). Here are some of the season’s highlights:
- My research efforts have produced some interesting preliminary data. I was able to measure incubation temperature in over 50 nests, and by all indications there is a strong female sex bias due to warm temperatures and temperature-dependent sex determination. It will be fascinating to see how the invasive plant species factors in to the temperature data, as well as how it affects vital rates of hatch success and emergence success.
- We have had 3 turtles show up that were first tagged in 1988, the second year of the project. They are likely over 40 years old.
- Nests have been hatching for a couple of months now, and continue to hatch nightly. We estimate that well over 15,000 hatchlings have left our study beach so far.
- We had a lot of fun bringing people out to the beach for “Turtle Watches.” Collaborating with the Antigua Environmental Awareness group, the nearby Jumby Bay Resort, and others, we have helped over 500 people have unique hawksbill experiences.
- We still have a couple of weeks left, but are already looking forward to next year. It will be the 30th year of the project!