Monday, October 19, 2009

The Turtles (and the Monitors) Return to San Diego Bay!

After a summer full of environmental monitoring and consulting at my new job here in San Diego, I'm excited to be joining NOAA scientists again out in the South San Diego Bay - looking for our green sea turtles once more! We'll start the 2009-2010 monitoring season in November, and are eager to see what the turtles have in store for us this year. Will we catch fewer than last year? More? Will we find more young turtles? Can we get some GPS tags to stay on longer? Will Wrinklebutt make an appearance?!

And just to clarify the title of this post, the sea turtles don't all necessarily leave San Diego Bay in the summer. If you revisit the past few blog posts, you'll recall that the turtles are simply in different parts of the Bay, and many of them do seem to venture to other parts of San Diego (I know some made their way to La Jolla Shores this summer!) - but they meander where they like, as this is the life of a sea turtle! And besides, the warm summer waters help facilitate the growth of some intense algae, making the standard turtle-capture methods quite difficult to execute, so the scientists don't attempts to capture the turtles during the warm months.

(Photo: NMFS Permit #1591)

But now fall is in the air - and despite the 80 degree weather - the red leaves outside my window confirm that the temperatures will be cooling down, and it's almost time to go "turtling" again!

This fall and winter I will continue to post updates to this blog (much more frequently than this summer!) to share with all my San Diego Sea Turtle friends what the turtles and their dedicated researchers are up to this year.

And so, to keep us all interested, I leave you with some photos from last year, and invite you to review the findings from last year's monitoring season - and to wish me luck as I work on making the final edits with my NOAA advisor to our paper we're planning on publishing soon!

The Story of San Diego's Sea Turtles - 2008-2009 Season

Part 1: Status of Green Sea Turtles in the Eastern Pacific

Part 2: Green Sea Turtles in San Diego Bay

Part 3: Turtle "Catchability" Appears to be Declining - What Does This Mean?

Part 4: Why is "Catchability" Declining? What Is Changing?

Part 5: The Likely Explanation

Part 6: What Will Happen Once The Power Plant Shuts Down?

Photos: NMFS Permit #1591