Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Turtle Tuesday #2

Well, I wasn't intending on taking a week off in between posts, but I worked 14+ hour days every day last week (including Saturday and Sunday), so that's what happened! I had such a great response to the first Turtle Tuesday! I'm so excited to share what I've been up to this past week!

Turtle Tagging

Last week, we went seining for turtles in an area called Winding Bay. A seine net is a net that has two poles attached to the ends and is dragged along the bottom towards the shore. 

Source: VIMS

Our seine net was about 100 yards long (maybe longer) and we had 7 people total working on either pulling the net, ensuring the net doesn't sink below the surface or leave the sea floor, or scaring turtles into our net. On our first seine, we caught one turtle, a juvenile green sea turtle who is incredibly happy to see me (also, ignore the fact that I don't have pants on)

Whenever we catch a turtle, we take a series of measurements. We begin by taking the straight length of their carapace (top of their shell), followed by their width, the curved length (using a tape measure) of their carapace, their weight, we make notes of any scars or abnormalities, and then take photos of the shell and flippers. 

 Measuring width of the body

 Measuring body depth (or how chunky this lil bugger is)

 Weighing our little guy (he came out to be around 6 pounds)

Photo shoot!

This was a brand new turtle (to our project), so before we released him back with his friends, we attached tags to the rear flippers. Each flipper gets a tag in between the second and third toe on the flipper. The tags have numbers that are recorded and this will help us see how this turtle moves and grows during the time it spends in the Bahamas! After we catch a turtle and take measurements, we also attach a biodegradable, red string to the flippers so that we can tell which turtles we've already caught within the last few days so that we don't stress them out too much. Then, we release them back into the water (that's the turtle's favorite part).

Even though it's been a really hectic and crazy first week, I'm loving it so far and am learning a lot! I start teaching this Friday, so that'll be a new and exciting adventure! 

Have you ever gone seining (or fishing)? How big do you think turtles get?