Many Dry Tortugas Loggerheads Actually Bahamas Residents
Many loggerhead sea turtles that nest in Dry Tortugas National Park head to rich feeding sites in the Bahamas after nesting, a discovery that may help those working to protect this threatened species.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey used satellites to track the population of loggerheads that nest in the Dry Tortugas – the smallest subpopulation of loggerheads in the northwest Atlantic – and found the turtles actually spend a considerable portion of their lives in the Bahamas, returning to the Dry Tortugas to nest every two-to-five years. They then spend three-to-four months nesting in the Dry Tortugas before returning to the Bahamas. USGS News Release
Genetics Provides New Clues about Lionfish Invasion
New genetic data suggest the red lionfish invasion in the Caribbean Basin and Western Atlantic started in multiple locations, not just one as previously believed, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Florida has often been cited as the likely location of the introduction, but the new research suggests multiple introductions occurred, with some potentially coming from the more southern parts of the range. The Caribbean Basin stretches from parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast through South America. USGS News Release
Southeast Ecological Science Center to Merge
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southeast Ecological Science Center in Gainesville, Florida and the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana will merge under the same leadership effective October 1, 2015. USGS News Release
The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.
Based on the data available in 2012, the long-term probability of the species surviving has increased compared to a 2007 analysis, as a result of higher aerial survey estimates of population size, improved methods of tracking survival rates, and better estimates of the availability of warm-water refuges.
USGS scientists, working with colleagues from several other agencies and universities, used the manatee Core Biological Model to analyze the long-term viability of the manatee population in Florida, and to evaluate the threats it faces. A similar analysis completed in 2007 was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of its 5-year Review of the status of manatees.
Link to Press Release