Genetics Recovery Research
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program
is participating in a multi-state project along with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the North Carolina Wildlife and Resources Commission to answer
several basic loggerhead sea turtle nesting questions. The answers to these questions will
help biologists better understand how the loggerhead population is doing. Currently, the
actual number of loggerhead sea turtles that nest in South Carolina is not known. We will use DNA genetic fingerprinting (CSI for sea turtles) to identify individual loggerhead nesting females. This information will provide a
census of the actual nesting population. You can follow the progress of this study during the 2010 and beyond nesting seasons on our online nesting database.
In addition to estimating how many females are nesting in South Carolina each year, we also have the potential to answer the following questions:
• How many clutches of eggs does each nesting female lay in a year?
• Is the female nesting on more than one beach?
• How far apart are her nests?
• How many turtles are nesting in more than one state?
• Most individual females do not nest every year. How often does each turtle nest: every two years, three years, four or more years?
• How precisely does a daughter return to her hatching site to lay her eggs?