Hurricane Irene impacts Florida sea turtles

30 08 2011

Debris and unearthed sea turtle eggs on FL_11. (Photo by M. Vanoy)

Seanetter Martin Vanoy emailed on Friday with news from his beach in Melbourne, FL. Hurricane Irene had passed by to the east the previous night, and Martin headed out to assess the beach generally, and also the sea turtle nests he monitors there. The beach was strewn with debris, trash, and what looked like ping pong balls scattered everywhere; hundreds of turtle eggs had been washed out by the force of the waves, and all the hatchlings found were dead or dying. Martin reports that not a single one could be saved.

Of course, sea turtles evolved in an environment where hurricanes are not an uncommon event, but in light of all the human-caused troubles they face, it’s tough to see them take a hit like this. Thank you to Martin for the report from the field, and as the rest of you Seanetters head out to survey, we look forward to more reports of what you find out there. As for your blogger, we fared reasonably well–the only casualty here in coastal New Hampshire being some badly deformed popsicles due to prolonged power outage. We’ve been more fortunate than our neighbors in Vermont, that’s certain.

Dead hatchlings on the beach. (photo by M. Vanoy)

Tomorrow, your blogger heads out for a SEANET training in Wilmington, NC. John Stanton of US Fish and Wildlife has pulled together a great program, and the list of attendees now tops 40! We have high hopes for SEANET in the Carolinas, and will let you know how it all goes very soon!





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