15th Symposium on Education


Assessing the Effect of Weather on Sea Turtle Nests, Daytona Beach, Florida

Richard K. Snow, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ., Daytona Beach, FL; and M. M. Snow

Daytona Beach is known as the “World's Most Famous Beach” and is located in Volusia County on a barrier island along the Atlantic Seaboard of eastern Florida. As with many coastal communities, Daytona Beach is highly vulnerable to tropical storms, hurricanes, and the storm surges that accompany these events. From 1 May through 31 October, Daytona Beach is home to a number of endangered and threatened nesting sea turtles including leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea), greens (Chelonia mydas), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta). Volusia County has established natural beach management areas and conservation zones that are off limits to public vehicles to protect the sand dunes where the turtles nest. During sea turtle nesting season, the beaches are not open to public driving until every drivable mile has been inspected by specially trained and permitted sea turtle monitoring teams. Within 48 hours of the eggs being deposited, all turtle nests are mapped with GPS. These data points are entered into a sea turtle database and used to develop a GIS of all nest locations. Loggerheads are the dominant species in Volusia County with 245 nests in 1988 (the first year of monitoring) and a high of 626 nests in 1999. However, during 2004 the number of loggerhead nests dropped to 230, possibly as a result of hurricane related storm surge. This research analyzes the temporal and spatial distribution of nests and examines the relationship between sea turtle nests and storm surge events.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (372K)

Poster Session 1, Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 29 January 2006, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall A2

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