Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP) has officially kicked off the 2024 sea turtle nesting season with the documentation of the first nest on Venice Beach. This milestone, announced via a recent news release, signals the start of a critical period for sea turtle conservation efforts.

The inaugural nest, discovered on Sunday, April 28, was laid by a loggerhead sea turtle, a federally protected threatened species, as emphasized in Mote’s statement. Loggerheads reign as the predominant species nesting along southwest Florida beaches, closely followed by the endangered green sea turtles. Additionally, Sarasota County has witnessed occasional visits from the endangered Kemp’s ridleys, one of the smallest and rarest sea turtle species.

Throughout the nesting season, the STCRP diligently records nesting activities, enabling comprehensive analysis of various factors. These include trends in nesting behavior, timing shifts concerning seasonal changes, nesting density, hatchling production from live eggs, environmental influences, and the impact of nest site selection. Such meticulous documentation aids in better understanding and subsequently enhancing sea turtle conservation efforts in the region.