Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program and Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol — a group of scientists, interns and volunteers – will begin monitoring 35 miles of beaches from Longboat to Venice starting Saturday, April 15.
Southwest Florida beaches provide nesting grounds for threatened loggerhead sea turtles, endangered green sea turtles and occasionally for other sea turtle species. Florida's west coast hosts the largest nesting population of loggerheads in the Gulf of Mexico. Nesting season runs from May 1 through Oct. 31.
Staff and volunteers will start walking the beaches early each morning looking for signs of turtle nesting as part of an effort to study and conserve sea turtles. Data from each nesting season contributes to a statewide understanding of nesting sea turtles.
Following the 2016 nesting season, Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program reported that Longboat Key through Venice hosted a total of 4,588 nests, which beat the 2015 record by 2,103 nests.
2017 marks Mote's 36th year of protecting sea turtles along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches. To support Mote’s sea turtle research and conservation efforts, donate online at www.mote.org/support and select "donate." In the drop-down box, choose "Sea Turtle Conservation."