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Assessing Loggerhead sea turtle nesting activity at Cape Romano (FL)

Summary / Description


Located along the southwest coast of Florida, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres. There are several species of sea turtles that inhabit the estuary waters within the Reserve but only two species nest along our beaches.  Loggerhead  sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are the most prevalent and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are the least common. The Reserve has been partnering with Collier County Parks and Recreation staff to monitor sea turtle activity in the Cape Romano complex since 2005.  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.

Intern responsibilities

  • 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 thunderstorms.  Good field observation, meticulous data collection, good communication and people skills are required. Experience boating is preferred.  Rustic housing is provided.

Other Information

Internship Location: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is located in Naples, Florida. The main office is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples, FL 34113. The field station where interns are housed is located in Goodland (on Marco Island).

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

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