ACCSTR received a grant from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program
The ACCSTR received a grant (March 2012) for $25,000 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded by the sales of the sea turtle specialty license plate. The ACCSTR received the grant to support Hannah Vander Zanden’s study of loggerhead foraging patterns in the Gulf of Mexico.
The grant provides funding to analyze the long-term records that are retained in the scute to examine resource use with stable isotope analysis. The naturally occurring stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the scute reflect the diet and foraging location of the turtles. Samples were collected and analyzed from nesting females that were satellite tracked from multiple nesting beaches on Florida’s west coast. The scute samples have been micro-layered to assess consistency in resource use over several years of foraging history and determine whether individuals demonstrate fidelity to foraging areas. Additionally, we will pair the tracking data with the scute records to determine whether stable isotopes are a good biomarker for determining foraging location in this region. This information may be used to determine the foraging location of untracked females using only their isotopic records. Overall, this work can aid in assessing population dynamics and potential interactions with anthropogenic activities in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ACCSTR was chosen for the award through a competitive application process that is open to coastal county governments, educational institutions and Florida-based nonprofit groups striving to improve the livelihood of sea turtles and conserve Florida habitats. Launched in 1996, the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate raises money for two important programs that benefit Florida sea turtles—the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Turtle Protection Program and the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which distributes money back to the local level for turtle conservation projects.
To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org