Contribution starting at $2,995
Exported from Streamline App (https://app.streamlineicons.com)
9 days (avg. $333 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Ocean Health

Tracking Sea Turtles in The Bahamas

Location
Eleuthera Map it
Lead Scientist
Activity Level
Moderate
Accommodations
Couples Rooms possible
Research Station
House
Hotel
Internet access
Food
Chef-prepared meals
The green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle populations are declining rapidly, and researchers are searching for a way to reverse the trend.
Immerse yourself in the tidal mangrove creeks, sea grass beds, and coral reefs where these turtles forage during their juvenile years, before they reach full adulthood.
Earthwatch volunteers will help map food resources, such as seagrass and sponges, found in foraging sites.
From a boat or in tidal creeks, assist researchers in tracking turtles and when spotted, snorkel to catch the turtle or set up a seine net.
Earthwatch volunteers help to tag a turtle.
Earthwatch volunteer releasing a sea turtle after data collection is complete.
esearchers keep this account by periodically recapturing tagged turtles to collect tissue samples for chemical analysis.
The green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle populations are declining rapidly, and researchers are searching for a way to reverse the trend.
Immerse yourself in the tidal mangrove creeks, sea grass beds, and coral reefs where these turtles forage during their juvenile years, before they reach full adulthood.
Earthwatch volunteers will help map food resources, such as seagrass and sponges, found in foraging sites.
From a boat or in tidal creeks, assist researchers in tracking turtles and when spotted, snorkel to catch the turtle or set up a seine net.
Earthwatch volunteers help to tag a turtle.
Earthwatch volunteer releasing a sea turtle after data collection is complete.
esearchers keep this account by periodically recapturing tagged turtles to collect tissue samples for chemical analysis.

As a species, sea turtles have survived for millions of years. They saw the dinosaurs come and go. But now they're facing a threat like none before: humans.


Volunteers tagging sea turtle

The green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle are in trouble. Their populations are declining rapidly, and researchers are searching for a way to reverse the trend. The Bahamian government has already made it illegal to catch the turtles in the country’s waters; however, it is not enough to save the species from further decline. To ensure their habitats are protected from other human threats, like coastal development and climate change, scientists need to find out exactly where these habitats are. Help scientists by snorkeling (or boating, if you prefer) in clear coastal waters alongside hawksbill and green sea turtles. You'll actually get the opportunity to jump into the water and catch these fascinating creatures, which you would not be allowed to do if you weren’t part of this critical research project.

Immerse yourself in the tidal mangrove creeks, sea grass beds, and coral reefs where these turtles forage during their juvenile years, before they reach full adulthood. Although scientists know that these habitats are critical for young turtles, they don’t know exactly how turtles choose them and move between them. By determining where turtles are most abundant and measuring physical characteristics of the water like depth and temperature, you'll help uncover the qualities that make for preferred foraging grounds.

Discovering which habitats are most important to these turtles will help researchers and the government create plans that protect the right habitats from development. By taking this rare opportunity to share the water with these ancient creatures, you’ll help protect their futures.

 

A Typical Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival, welcome, research overview
  • Days 2–9: Catching sea turtles, snorkeling habitat surveys, one free day for recreation
  • Day 10: Departure

HOW YOU WILL HELP

When you arrive, you will be trained in all research activities. Depending on your team's location, field work includes the following tasks:
Catch and tag sea turtles
Catch and tag sea turtles

From a boat or in tidal creeks, assist researchers in tracking turtles and when spotted, snorkel to catch the turtle or set up a seine net. The team will work to take a tissue sample and tag, measure, and weigh the turtle. If you're not up for swimming, don't worry: there is plenty to do on the boat.

Snorkel through turtle habitats
Snorkel through turtle habitats

Explore places turtles feed in order to collect environmental data, such as water depth and temperature. You’ll also collect plant tissue samples and record GPS locations.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS

7 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Melissa Posey | August 20, 2019
I am so thankful I was able to go on this expedition and cannot say enough good things about it! We had such a wonderful trip with amazing scientists and teens. The scientists on this expedition were extremely knowledgeable, fun, and outgoing. We were able to truly dive into understanding why the sea turtle populations are declining in the Bahamas and help with the conservation efforts on Abaco. The teens helped with everything – from tracking down the turtles to collecting measurements and photos. It is an absolutely beautiful place to be doing science. I would recommend this expedition to anyone who is adventurous, curious, and loves learning more about our wonderful world and the creatures that inhabit it!
Julie Schilin | September 24, 2018
This was my first Earthwatch expedition and hopefully not my last. My expectations were well exceeded. The setting is stunning, a beautiful remote beach only 15 metres from the front door of our hut where we could regularly watch sunrise. We had a great group of people who were all happy to pitch in with anything that needed doing. Annabelle Brooks, our scientist, was not only very knowledgeable but also friendly with a great sense of fun. In the evenings you could just relax with a book around the coffee table, chat to fellow volunteers or attend an interesting lecture about turtles, sharks, fish or whatever were the expert subjects of Annabelle and the team. Each day out on the boat there was some free time to snorkel for fun, over a reef or have lunch on a beautiful deserted island, while watching the unique, beautiful clouds that gather over this area. I can't recommend this expedition highly enough.
Sheila MacFarlane | September 19, 2018
I've recently returned from a turtle tracking expedition on Andros and can honestly say I've never had such an incredible experience! I was nervously excited beforehand, having never done anything like this before, but every aspect of the trip was so well lead and organised by Annabelle Brooks (our esteemed marine scientist leader) and all the great staff at the Forfar Field Station, it totally made for an amazing trip. Annabelle and my fellow turtlers were a fantastic bunch of lovely ladies, a great mix of personalities and backgrounds and everyone made such a big effort to make it work for us all. If the opportunity arises again, I'll be on the next flight over to the Bahamas, to see if we can catch a few more of those speedy sea turtles. Huge thanks Annabelle, thanks Earthwatch. Memories to treasure!!

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