Green Turtles In Developmental Habitat: An Update On The Bermuda Turtle Project

Anne Meylan1, Peter Meylan2 and Andrea Mosier1
1Florida Marine Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701 -5095 USA
2Collegium of Natural Sciences, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida 3371 1 USA

The Bermuda Turtle Project was initiated in 1968 by Dr. H. Clay Frick, trustee of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). In January, 1992, the project became a joint effort of the CCC and the Bermuda Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Parks. As of January 1993, a total of 1007 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and 12 hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbrlcata) have been captured. The turtles are entrapped in a large (2000′) net and retrieved by snorkelers. Exact coordinates of the netting sites are recorded by a Global Positioning System unit, which facilitates incorporation of these data into a Geographic Information System. The turtles are weighed and measured and are then double-tagged using a combination of plastic (Dalton), monel, inconel, or titanium tags. Blood samples have been taken from 380 turtles for sex determination, and 125 turtles have been laparoscoped so that maturity status of the gonad can be evaluated. The laparoscopic examinations also allow calibration of the testosterone assays used in sex determination. Blood samples have also been obtained to determine the genetic affinities of Bermudian turtles. Data on size distribution and maturity status indicate that the waters surrounding Bermuda serve as developmental habitat for the green turtle.

Abstract presented at 13th International Symposium, 1993