Tracking of loggerheads enhances red tide research
At 4 feet 3 inches from head to tail, Pepper is the largest loggerhead that the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s sea turtle team has encountered this season.
She is also the second loggerhead ever to be satellite-tagged after nesting on Sanibel. The team tagged Pepper after she successfully laid a nest on July 6. It previously encountered her on Sanibel in 2018, which was a season of naming turtles after spices.
The first loggerhead to be tagged this summer was a loggerhead named Junonia.
Pepper and Junonia will be part of a study to learn more about the post-nesting movements, migratory pathways, and foraging grounds of loggerheads that nest on the Gulf coast of Florida. Since Pepper was nesting during the 2018 red tide bloom, the data will also contribute to a research project investigating the long-term impacts of red tide events on the health and reproductive success of nesting turtles, which is funded by the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence.
The AWC Family Foundation funded the satellite tagging of loggerheads. The SCCF is also satellite tracking a rare leatherback named Juniper that nested on the islands for the first time this season.
To track Pepper, Junonia and Juniper, visit www.trackturtles.com.