Loggerhead turtle emerging

Fabulous footage! The first steps {and swim} of life on a Florida beach – a loggerhead turtle hatchling emerges from its nest and, following its instincts, light, and other cues, heads for the sea.

Kudos to the volunteers who spend countless hours in Florida monitoring and protecting loggerhead nests – according to NOAA, it’s one of only two places in the world where masses of loggerheads nest:

“The most recent reviews show that only two loggerhead nesting beaches have greater than 10,000 females nesting per year: South Florida (U.S.) and Masirah Island (Oman).”

Video courtesy Volusia Flagler Turtle Patrol ; hat tip to @KM_SocialBiz for alerting us to this video.

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Pic o’ the week – snacking sand perch

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Or in this case, a fish-eat-crab world.

Ocean photographer Steve Kovacs captured snacktime for a sand perch (Diplectrum formosum), as it dined on a crab.

This moment in nature was snapped at in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s Riviera Beach. Check out his pics – beautiful and a study in the behaviors of many undersea creatures.

Hollywood (Fla) to dim lights for turtles

It’s taken time, many battles, and the city’s need for permits, but the city of Hollywood, Florida has agreed to dim the lights along its beaches during turtle nesting season.

As scientists have told us for years, and as volunteers with STOP have shown us in this vivid video, sea turtle hatchlings are attracted by light – and head towards it once they crawl out of the sand to begin what should be their voyage into the sea.

Hollywood, Fla. has resisted curbing its lighting — even installing bright, “old-fashioned” streetlights along the Broadwalk in 2007, which exacerbated the problem.

The city did not go willingly into this new ordinance – rather, state and federal officials refused to grant the city permits to fix eroding beaches if it didn’t take steps to protect turtles from the lights. Though done under duress, a state biologist pointed out that this is a big step:

Robbin Trindell, a biologist in charge of sea turtle protection for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the ordinance represents a “major step” toward assuring state and Continue reading “Hollywood (Fla) to dim lights for turtles”

Sea turtle hatchlings LOVE beach resort lights

There’s bound to be messiness when creatures who’ve roamed the seas and beaches for millions of years face the relatively newfangled phenomenon of artifical light. Scientists believe that sea turtle hatchlings, when they emerge from their shells on beaches around the world, institnctually move in the direction where the sky is brightest. On a beach with no artificial lights, that direction is most often the open horizon of the sea.

Here, a few people from the group SeaTurtle Oversight Protection in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida took a night camera out on the beach as they tried to re-direct scores of hatchlings who scurried relentlessly toward the resort lights on a beach… even when they were put in the lapping waves of the ocean instead.

Citizen reporting giving us an interesting visual view of light pollution (and, further into the video, beach chair hazards) and turtle nesting – not meshing well together.

* See Andrew Revkin’s NY Times Dot Earth post about this post & STOP’s video: On Florida Beaches, Let There Be Dark