We’re well into our fourth week now and the projects are coming along nicely! The turtle team have been heading out to Fishing Pond beach on the north-east of Trinidad as much as they can, although were limited by tropical storm Bret. This caused the beach to become waterlogged so we had to put the projects on hold for a few nights.
Once we arrive on the beach, it’s never long before we spot a turtle – almost always a Leatherback. When we manage to spot the turtles before they have started to lay, we take a series of measurements such as body temperature, sand compaction, humidity, carapace dimensions etc. as a measurement of condition/fitness. Once the female has started to lay, we measure egg temperature as a proxy for core body temperature and finish up with external body temperature once finished.
The aim of these projects are to determine the effect of environment change on the temperatures taken from previous years and also to compare the differences between our work and the nesting, smaller Hawksbill turtles in Tobago. We are also trying to determine if there is a correlation between nest depth and body size and site selection.
We were extremely lucky in finding a Hawksbill turtle – a critically endangered species – on one of our first nights out. This was something that none of us were expecting to see so we were very excited!
We look forward to updating you with the rest of our projects soon!
The Trinidad Team.