It’s that time of year again. The Milman Island turtle nesting season is well underway and teams of researchers and volunteers have been on the island since the 4th of January and I will head off to join them this week.
The Queensland Government runs an annual census of nesting hawksbill and green turtles from the 15th of January to the 15th of February each year. However, this year the survey period has been extended over 11 weeks from January to March and incorporates research being undertaken by Honours student, Melissa Staines.
Recent research has shown that warming global temperatures are turning turtle populations in the northern Great Barrier Reef almost entirely female. Melissa is looking at ways to cool nests using natural shading materials and watering to try to improve the number of male turtle hatchlings and improve the overall health of hatchlings.
Sea Turtle Foundation provided a small grant to Melissa to buy digital temperature loggers for her project and look forward to seeing her results.
I will be on the island for two weeks as part of the Queensland Government’s on-going monitoring program and to give Melissa and hand with her research. By all accounts, the numbers of green turtles nesting on Milman, and the northern GBR more generally, are very low this season so it will be interesting to see how the hawksbills are faring.