Santa Fe River Turtle Project
The Santa Fe River Turtle Project is a collaborative effort by scientists, students, and citizens to learn about the turtles inhabiting the Santa Fe River and to promote conservation of the entire Santa Fe River ecosystem in northern Florida. Since 2004, we have conducted a mark-recapture study of all turtle species throughout the river. Our capture methods include trapping with baited hoop nets and hand capture while snorkeling. To date we have captured, measured, marked, and released more than 8,000 turtles. More than 200 students and citizens have participated in this project during the past 16 years.
The Santa Fe River and its associated spring habitats are home to 11 native turtle species and 4 non-native taxa. Few places on Earth have as many turtle species living together. In fact, approximately 25% of all North American freshwater turtle species inhabit this small river system. Each species has a unique story of how it manages to live in the Santa Fe River.
Our research activity is guided by questions such as:
Some interesting things we have learned so far:
What Does a Turtle Ecologist Do?
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