July 25, 2019
I was so thrilled to be asked to help out with an Earthwatch project again this year in the Bahamas. We had not one, not two, but THREE teen Earthwatch groups helping out with our sea turtle research this summer. In total we caught, tagged, and released 200 turtles! It was such an amazing three weeks in the Bahamas. It flew by as usual, but I truly feel so grateful to be able to be in such an amazing place teaching teens about conservation, Bahamas culture, and marine biology.
This was my fourth year back in Abaco and it really is like my second home now. This year we really focused all our efforts on tagging as many sea turtles as possible and trying to track the disease that is increasing in prevalence called Fibropapillomatosis or FP for short. This is a disease affecting all types of sea turtles and there isn’t much known about it besides that it is a form of the herpes virus. We are tagging turtles to track this disease, see where it is most prevalent and which species of turtles are most susceptible. The turtles that are afflicted with FP have tumors that vary in sizes and locations.
We measure and photograph every tumor on each turtle so if we recapture it in the following year we can see if the tumors have increased decreased in size. The data that we collect with these Earthwatch Volunteers goes into a larger database and helps with the ongoing study of these marine animals.
Some of the highlights of this trip include: Bracelet making, introducing the kids to Stevie Connett and the foxy lady, taking a few people into the ocean for the first time EVER, having a non-swimmer learn to swim, playing with Otis the blue hole dog, trying my hand at teaching, tea time, visits with our local friends, showing the groups how to eat sustainably, going through massive shell piles, taking Donny to lunch on his birthday, calling Beth Dr. Whitman, taking a volunteer to get stitches, being on the boat everyday, peanut butter jelly sandwiches, getting a title promotion, photographing everyone, and lastly meeting some amazing people.
Check out some of our photos you can order prints and products of Here
If you are looking to join an earthwatch team check out their site here for more info!
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