Other Conservation News

Along the Coast: Sea turtle nests up slightly from previous record

Source: The Coastal Star
Date: March 6, 2012
Along the Coast: Sea turtle nests up slightly from previous record By Steve Plunkett The competition between beach-goers and sea turtles for a spot in the sand continued to heat up in 2011. Countywide, female loggerheads, greens and leatherbacks dug a record-high 19,552 nests, besting 2010’s record total, said Paul Davis with the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management. But the new record was slim. “We only increased 31 nests this year,” Davis said. Davis noted the county’s almost 41 miles of shoreline make up 5 percent of Florida’s beaches but account for 23 percent of the state’s nests, second only to Brevard County.

Annual manatee death count shows cold weather an unusually big factor again

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: January 4, 2012
A cold-related die-off of manatees in early 2011 set the stage for a third straight year with high numbers of deaths for the species. Biologists with the research arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) documented 453 manatee carcasses in state waters in 2011. During the past three years, biologists documented the highest levels of cold-related manatee deaths, with the "cold stress" category accounting for 112 in 2011, 282 in 2010 and 56 in 2009. In the previous five years, cold stress accounted for an average of 30 manatee deaths per year. The total number of reported manatee deaths in 2011 was the second-highest on record. Biologists documented a record 766 manatee deaths in 2010 and recorded the third-highest total of 429 in 2009. "We are concerned about the number of manatee deaths the past three years, including those resulting from exposure to cold weather," said Gil McRae, director of the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Slow down for manatees migrating to warmer waters

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: November 14, 2011
As winter's chill arrives, cold-sensitive manatees begin migrating to warmer waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds boaters and personal watercraft operators to slow down and watch out for Florida's official marine mammal. The lumbering, slow-moving manatees generally start traveling to warm waters when the air drops below 50 degrees or water temperatures dip to 68 degrees. November is also Manatee Awareness Month, and the FWC wants to alert boaters to the slow speed zones now going into effect on the rivers, canals and waterways where manatees travel. "If you think you see a manatee, please slow down and give the animal plenty of room because it may not be alone. It may have a calf or be traveling with other manatees," said Kipp Frohlich, who leads the FWC's imperiled species management section. How to spot this aquatic giant? Boaters and personal watercraft operators should scan the water near or in front of their vessels and look for the
Categories: 2011 Archives

2011 a banner year for 2 Florida sea turtle species

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: October 11, 2011
The Florida sea turtle nesting season has come to an end, and there is good news for two of Florida's federally endangered sea turtle species. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners documented a record high annual nest count for green turtles in Florida. Leatherback turtles also had a high number of nests, with the count falling just shy of the previous high mark in 2009. Loggerheads, the species that nests most commonly in Florida, did not have an increase in numbers this year. The nest count for this federally threatened sea turtle was close to average for the previous five years. However, since 1998, the trend in the number of loggerhead nests is a general decline. "We're pleased with the green turtle and leatherback nesting totals in 2011," said Dr. Blair Witherington, an FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientist.
Categories: 2011 Archives
2011 a banner year for 2 Florida sea turtle species

Where sea turtles nest

Source: St. Petersburg Times
Date: September 23, 2011
I am a biologist who, for 29 years, has studied marine turtle nests on the beach at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a 21-kilometer stretch of beach on Florida's east coast between Melbourne and Vero Beach, home to nests for three species of turtle. For loggerheads, it is arguably the best nesting beach on the entire rim of the Atlantic Ocean. For green turtles, it is certainly the best nesting beach in the United States. And for leatherbacks, it is home to a small but growing rookery. It is incredibly fortuitous that the refuge, dedicated to the protection of marine turtle nesting habitat, came along just as the turtles were poised to advance incrementally in abundance and survival status. Nothing is more critical to that advance than maintaining natural beaches: no sea walls, no foreign sand, no landscape alteration, no lights. That's the lay of the land of the Carr Refuge beach, and those features help support more than a million hatchlings that will enter the ocean f
Categories: 2011 Archives

Scientists studying sea turtles to gauge health of Lake Worth Lagoon

By: Sun Sentinel
Source: Sun Sentinel
Date: September 6, 2011
Endangered sea turtles have found an oasis in Palm Beach County, according to biologists in the midst of a Lake Worth Lagoon sea turtle count. Researchers spotted about 100 sea turtles during a week of boat patrols from North Palm Beach to the Boynton Beach Inlet, with most of them concentrated around Little Munyon Island near John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. That is the largest concentration of sea turtles in one area that the biologists from Jensen Beach-based Inwater Research Group say they see on research trips throughout Florida. Mining The turtles, mostly juvenile green sea turtles, likely are attracted to sea grass beds near Little Munyon Island, where they can feed and find protection from predators as well as from man-made danger
Categories: 2011 Archives
Scientists studying sea turtles to gauge health of Lake Worth Lagoon

FWC, partners monitoring birds for avian influenza to protect public health

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: July 20, 2011
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services and partner agencies are wrapping up a five-year avian influenza monitoring project. The project was designed to determine if migratory birds carried the Asian strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus to the U.S. All samples collected by the FWC and other state partners tested negative for any highly pathogenic strains. Biologists started the project in 2006 in an effort to rapidly detect and quickly respond should a highly pathogenic strain reach the U.S. There have been no reported cases of avian influenza in humans in the United States but a number of people in other countries became sick or died from that virus after extensive, direct contact with infected poultry. The USDA and its partners collected more than 450,000 samples nationwide, including 5,200 plus samples from Florida.
Categories: 2011 Archives

Report fish kills, even though they’re common this time of year

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: July 20, 2011
High temperatures and cloudy, rainy days can spell trouble for fish in Florida's marine and freshwater habitats. These conditions can cause fish kills, which are natural occurrences that typically do not cause permanent damage to the ecosystem or to fish populations. Nevertheless the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your help in keeping track of these die-offs. FWC scientists record and monitor the location and extent of fish kills in natural lakes and estuaries to see if there are problems developing in an ecosystem that might require investigation or restorative measures. Many factors may contribute to a fish kill. Some fish kills are complex and involve a variety of factors that may not be easily discernable. However, most common causes of kills in brackish estuaries, freshwater lakes and man-made retention ponds are well understood by scientists.
Categories: 2011 Archives
Report fish kills, even though they’re common this time of year

Satellite tracking will reveal turtle wanderings

By: Nature
Source: Nature
Date: April 28, 2011
By borrowing the tools of the manicurist's trade, marine biologists have found a way of attaching satellite-tracking tags to turtle hatchlings. The tags will help uncover what turtles get up to in the critical few months after they leave the beach of their birth. "If we know where these endangered animals are, we can target those areas and design studies to answer questions about survivorship, the hazards and threats to which they are exposed, and how long it takes them to get from their nesting beach to wherever it is they go," says Kate Mansfield, a turtle biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami, and one of the researchers behind the study. Any tag used on young turtles must be able to withstand the corrosive marine environment and accommodate the hatchlings' rapid growth. In a few months their weight increases from 20 to 300 grams and they grow from 12 to 18 centimetres long. Yet the tag must be small and
Categories: 2011 Archives

FWC biologists discover new species in Hillsborough fisherman’s catch

By: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Date: April 1, 2011
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), along with scientists from California State Polytechnic University, have identified a new marine species found in the Gulf of Mexico. A scientific publication released Thursday officially announced the discovery of Chromodoris fentoni, a type of shell-less snail known as a nudibranch (pronounced "nu-da-brank"). FWC biologists first observed this nudibranch when commercial aquarium-trade fisherman Daniel Fenton of Brandon donated sponges and other specimens to the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in St. Petersburg in 2009. Fenton collected the specimens from the Gulf of Mexico, off Tarpon Springs. While sorting through the donation, FWRI biologists Nancy Sheridan and Joan Herrera observed the unusual creature. "We were not able to identify one of the nudibranchs and realized that it was possible we were seeing something entirely new," said Sheridan. "The discovery was especially reward
Categories: 2011 Archives