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Green Turtle Nesting in Florida

The 2020 sea turtle nesting season is coming to an end. We had 219 beaches surveyed this year, covering approximately 839 miles of Florida’s coastline. Our permit holders are working hard to compile their data for the annual reports that are due to FWRI by November 30th. As you can imagine with so much data coming in, it takes time to proof and verify these data before we can post the final numbers to our webpage. We strive to have finalized data by the end of January 2021, so please check back to find out how many sea turtle nests were observed during the 2020 season. Thank you for your interest in sea turtle conservation.

Nesting Green Turtle
Photo Credit: Cheryl L. Sanchez

Green turtle nesting in Florida occurs primarily from June through late September. Every two to three years, a female will return to the nesting beach—often the same one she visited before—and lay an average of 3.6 clutches in a season (Witherington et al., 2006). A clutch averages about 128 eggs (Brost et al., 2015). The green turtle's name derives not from the color of its shell—olive-brown with dark streaks and spots—but from the greenish color of its body fat. On average, these sea turtles weigh 300 - 350 pounds and have a shell length of 3 feet.

Although nesting activity has been recorded in almost every coastal county in Florida, most green turtle nesting is concentrated along the southeast coast of Florida. To view green turtle nest density by beach, see the Statewide Atlas of Sea Turtle Nesting Occurrence and Density.

Map of Green Turtle Nest Density
Green turtle nest density (measured in number of nests per kilometer of beach) by genetic subunit in Florida during the last five-year period (2011-2015). High-density beaches are those having the top 25 percent of density values (red); low-density beaches have the lowest 25 percent (yellow); and beaches with densities between these two categories are defined medium-density beaches (orange). White indicates beaches where green turtles were not observed to have nested during the five-year period.

Citations

Brost, B., B. Witherington, A. Meylan, E. Leone, L. Ehrhart, and D. Bagley.  2015.  Sea turtle hatchling production from Florida (USA) beaches, 2002-2012, with recommendations for analyzing hatching success.  Endangered Species Research 27:53-68.

Witherington, B., M. Bresette, and R. Herren. 2006.  Chelonia mydas — Green Turtle.  In:  Biology and Conservation of Florida Turtles, P.A. Meylan, Ed. Chelonian Research Monographs 3:90-104.