On Thursday, September 29th, and Friday September 30th, our team of Marine Turtle Specialists attended the West Palm Beach GIS Expo. Through a series of lectures, exhibits, and displayed posters, the team gained valuable insight into the world of Geographic Information Systems, the technology that we utilize to document sea turtle activity on Boca beaches.
The MTS team has been attending the expo since 2005. This year, our turtle specialists entered the annual poster contest, which involves creating a scientific poster that demonstrates the practical applications of GIS technology. The team’s poster, entitled “Lighting Impacts of A1A Viewing Corridors on Sea Turtle Disorientations,” focused on mapping the number of nests affected by headlights and roadway lighting along Boca Raton’s northernmost mile of beach. This is an area where sea grapes and other dune vegetation have been cut down in order to allow drivers to see the ocean from the road, but it is negatively impacting sea turtle conservation efforts. Confused hatchlings, who are looking for the brightest horizon, go the wrong direction in these areas, and waste energy on the beach.
The posters, separated into three categories, were reviewed by a panel of judges on Thursday, and they were displayed for all expo attendees to see. Our own Marine Turtle Specialist team took home first place in the Analytical Poster category. Congratulations to our MTS crew!