sea turtle Research at lMC
Loggerhead Marinelife Center conducts research on the three species of sea turtles that regularly nest on the beaches of northern Palm Beach County. Each year, in excess of 10,000 sea turtle nests are recorded on these very special beaches. The LMC research team monitors 9.5 miles of beach from MacArthur Park, north up to Jupiter Island during sea turtle nesting season. Nesting season runs from March 1 - October 31 on Florida's east coast.
Nesting surveys are conducted throughout the Southeast United States to track the reproductive activities of loggerhead, green, and leatherback turtles. The number of nests and nesting attempts made can help researchers understand reproductive behavior, and over time, help determine the overall health of each population by establishing trends in nesting activity. LMC researchers have documented the nesting activity on 6 miles of beach in Juno and Jupiter since 1989, making our data set one of the longest-running in the State of Florida. Beginning in 2007, the staff expanded our program to include the beaches of Tequesta/Jupiter Inlet Colony and south of the Jupiter Inlet. As of 2012, we have yet again expanded efforts to include some of the southern beaches of Jupiter Island that are to the north of Jupiter Inlet.
Leatherback nest numbers in northern Palm Beach County have been increasing since the late 1990’s. In 2001, LMC researchers developed a long-term program (The Leatherback Project) to study the nesting population of leatherbacks in the area. Each night during nesting season, staff members patrol the beach from Palm Beach Inlet north to the the Jupiter Inlet. Each leatherback encountered is measured and tagged for identification. The program was designed to identify nesting individuals and understand the size and status of the population. The program has since expanded to include many research projects studying migration, health, reproductive behavior, contaminants, threats and genetics.