Marine researchers Wednesday completed a 10-day assessment of the iconic green sea turtle in the Florida Keys.
Data including measurements, skin biopsies and bloodwork from 26 turtles was acquired. All were released except for three that are being treated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital for Fibropapillomatosis, a herpes-like virus that affects turtles worldwide.
The project’s goals were to examine where green turtles live and feed in Keys waters, measure the incidence of Fibropapillomatosis and evaluating green turtles’ general health.
The effort was a collaboration between the Turtle Hospital, other marine research groups and Force Blue, a non-profit that aids returning combat veterans through mission-focused programs to help the world’s ocean environment.
Force Blue members aided the effort to collect turtles. Once a turtle was located, it was tracked until the boat was close enough so the Force Blue diver and a biologist could dive into the water and grasp the reptile to load it on the boat. In some cases, they used a net to scoop turtles into the vessel.
Results are to be released after the analysis is completed.
The project was permitted by National Marine Fisheries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.