Metadata and Database Access Instructions
Structure of the BSTTDC Database
The database has 18 fields and 4076 lines of data. An empty cell indicates that no information was available. Each line represents a single sighting of a turtle and may be one of four types of encounters. These four types are coded in the “Encounter code” field:
1 = Tagged by the BSTTDC on Melbourne Beach, Florida
2 = Tagged by BSTTDC on Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida
3 = Reported on a nesting beach by other people
4 = Report of a tag recovery away from the nesting beach or a tag recovery from a stranded turtle
This project was never intended to be a saturation tagging program. The beach was patrolled in dune buggies on as many nights as logistics allowed. The dates and times recorded in the database are the best indication of survey effort.
Turtles were tagged with monel metal tags (size 49, National Band and Tag Company, Newport, Kentucky) supplied by Archie Carr at the University of Florida. The tags were inscribed with an identification number, an offer of a reward for the return of the tag, and the University of Floridareturn address. Most turtles were tagged with a single tag on the trailing edge of the right front flipper close to the proximal end of the flipper.
Minimum straight-line carapace length, from the middle of the nuchal scute to the pygal notch, was measured with calipers in inches. Maximum straight-line carapace width was measured in inches with calipers at the widest part of the carapace. Measurements were recorded in cm for some entries reported by other researchers. For these entries, we converted cm to inches using 2.54 cm per inch in the fields for carapace length and carapace width, and noted the original measurements in cm and the fact that they were converted in the Notes field. Measurements recorded by other researchers (Encounter Code not #1 or #2) may have used different measuring methods. For example, carapace length may be curved; if information was provided, we recorded it in the Notes field.
Whether the turtle did or did not deposit eggs was noted when possible. Empty cells in the field “Nested” indicate that it was not known whether the female deposited eggs.
Melbourne Beach Sections
The Melbourne Beach section map (Spessard Holland Park (north) to Floridana Beach (south)) shows the start (North End), section markers 1 through 7, and the South End. Section markers are at 1 mile intervals. Section markers are at the south end of each numbered section. For example, if a turtle is encountered in section 2 its location is between marker 1 (to the north) and marker 2 (to the south).
Cape Canaveral Beach Sections
The Cape Canaveral Beach section map shows the Start and section markers 1 through 7. Section markers are at 1 mile intervals. The tagging area begins at the “Start,” which is at the south end. Section markers are at the north end of each numbered section (note this is the opposite from Melbourne Beach). For example, if a turtle is between mile marker 1 (to the south) and 2 (to the north), the turtle is recorded as encountered in section 2.
Tag series used by the BSTTDC
B2101 – B2300
B3301 – B3700
C1601 – C2300
C2501 – C3400
C14601 – C14800
E9001 – E9500
G1201 – G1400
G1801 – G2000*
H1301 – H1400
*G1801-G2000 were given to Randy Fowler in 1979, but we did not receive all of the tagging data.
All other tags listed in the BSTTDC database were applied by researchers on other nesting beaches in the southeastern US.
Definitions of Data Fields
Master Tag: This tag number is the identification number that links all records for an individual turtle, even if the tag numbers change.
Tag1 through Tag3: Tag numbers placed on the turtle.
Tags Added: Tag numbers added to a turtle that arrived already carrying a tag.
Tags Removed: Tag numbers removed from a turtle that arrived already carrying a tag.
Date: The date refers to the date that nightly patrols began. Thus, turtles tagged after midnight are assigned to the date of the previous day when the patrol began.
Time: Time that the turtle was encountered. Time is recorded using 24-hour clock.
Species: CC is Caretta caretta and CM is Chelonia mydas
Nested: Yes = eggs deposited; No = eggs not deposited
First time tagged: True/False field
Carapace length (in): Minimum straight-line carapace length, measured from the middle of the nuchal scute to the pygal notch, with calipers in inches
Carapace width (in): Maximum straight-line carapace width was measured in inches with calipers at the widest part of the carapace
Melbourne Beach section: The section number where the turtle was encountered (see above).
Cape Canaveral section: The section number where the turtle was encountered (see above).
Location: Location for turtles not encountered in the study areas by the Billy Turner team (#3 and #4 coded encounters)
Encounter code: Each entry is coded as follows:
- Tagged by the BSTTDC on Melbourne Beach, Florida
- Tagged by BSTTDC on Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida
- Reported on a nesting beach by other people
- Report of a tag recovery away from the nesting beach or a tag recovery from a stranded turtle
Notes: Miscellaneous notes
Access to Database
Access to the BSTTDC database is available for everyone. To maintain a record of use, we ask that you send your request to Karen Bjorndal (Director, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research) at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will email you the database (~800kb). The database is in MS Excel 2003 format. We would appreciate receiving notice of any use of these data (e.g., publications, presentations).
In any publication or presentation, please cite the database as follows:
Brevard Sea Turtle Tagging and Data Collection Project (BSTTDC). 2010. Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research Legacy Database Initiative: http://accstr.ufl.edu