In partnership with Seaturtle.org, during the summer of 2001, REEF initiated a sea turtle sightings program to be included as part of its existing Fish Survey Project.
As part of this program, REEF surveyors are asked to include sea turtle sightings as an additional species. If the turtle can be identified to species, its common name and/or scientific name should be given, otherwise the surveyor should just mark 'Sea Turtle sp.' The same abundance codes should be used (S,F,M,A) and this program is applicable in all regions. In Hawaii and the Caribbean, additional information on green sea turtles withFibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors is also being recorded. Click here to find out more about FP.
As the reach of REEF's survey effort continues to expand, there have been many ideas and thoughts of how to capitalize on the thousands of eyes looking underwater. While REEF's main focus is marine fish, we have decided to incorporate two additional components through collaborations with other organizations - the Invertebrate monitoring program and sea turtles. There are three rationales for including sea turtle sightings in the REEF Fish Survey Project-
The data are housed in REEF's database. Visitors to the REEF online database can view summary reports similar to those for fish. REEF Director of Science, Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens, provides raw data of sightings upon request. Dr. Michael Coyne via Seaturtle.org ocassionally provides the data to the sea turtle research and conservation communities.
Seaturtle.org is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina, and its mission is to support research and conservation efforts in the sea turtle community by providing online resources and solutions. Seaturtle.org's founder and Executive Director, Dr. Michael Coyne, supported REEF for years as our Database Programmer. For more information, visit their website at Seaturtle.org.