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Assessing Loggerhead sea turtle nesting activity, Florida

Summary / Description


Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the gulf coast of Florida, the Rookery Bay Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America.  It is home to three species of sea turtle – Kemp’s ridley Lepidochelys kempii) and Atlantic green (Chelonia midas) turtles are both listed as Endangered species, and the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) is listed as a Threatened species.

Rookery Bay Reserve staff work in cooperation with local agencies to conduct sea turtle nest surveys within the Reserve.  Reserve interns and volunteers walk remote island beaches to document sea turtle nesting and hatching activity. The beaches are only accessible by boat.  The long-term data are used to guide the sea turtle program and management of important nesting beach habitat.

Responsibilies include:

  • Collecting field data and entering it into Excel
  • Caging sea turtle nests to protect the eggs from predators
  • Excavating nests to evaluate hatching success
  • Training volunteers

There may be opportunities to assist with other ongoing projects in the Rookery Bay Reserve.

Skills Required

The intern must be physically able to work in summer outdoor conditions that include extreme heat and humidity, biting insects, and rain. Good field observation, meticulous data collection, good communication and people skills are required. Experience boating is preferred. Rustic housing is provided (no tv or internet).

Other Information

Internship Location: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Naples, Florida

Intern Supervisor: Jill Schmid / Number of slots available: 1

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