Reading List

The following outline for the Bermuda Turtle course is based on a reading list that we have developed and updated for a variety of courses on sea turtle biology and conservation over the last 20 years. The BTP course is designed around the life history of sea turtles. Because we work mostly with green turtles in the field portion of the course, there is an emphasis on this species in the readings. However, we try to include discussion of all species and all life history stages. For most topics we have included a specific case study from the primary literature rather than a review paper. We do this to introduce basic concepts in sea turtle biology, promote discussion of the reading material among students, and expose them to the types of research in which they might be involved.

Paper discussions are done on board of the research vessel on the way to the sampling site each day. It is important that students read and comprehend these papers to the best of their ability, before the class in which they are scheduled for discussion. Students in the course will receive a complete set of printed copies of the readings when they arrive in Bermuda.

While in Bermuda, please bring copies of papers with you on board of the RV Endurance on the day that they are scheduled for discussion. Do not plan on using an electronic version on board, instead, mark up your hard copy as you read it and bring the printed, marked up copy with you.

2024 Course Reading List


Day 1 (Sunday, August 11) – Orientation, Logistics of BTP and Intro to Course

Evans, Gray, Herren, Roth, Meylan and Meylan. Revised 2024. Procedures manual for the Bermuda Turtle project (Be sure to read sections on: Introduction to the Bermuda Turtle Project, Setting the Entrapment Net, Safety Rules for People, Safety Rules for Turtles). ( pdf available here).

Day 2 (Monday, August 12) – An Introduction to Sea Turtles at the Nesting Beach

Carr, A., M. Carr, and A. B. Meylan. 1978. The ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 7. The west Caribbean green turtle colony. Bull. American Museum Nat. Hist. 162:1-46 ( pdf available here as well as in Spanish)

Day 3 (Tuesday, August 13) – Nest and Hatchlings

Wibbels, T., Lutz, P. L., Musick, J. A., & Wyneken, J. (2003). Critical approaches to sex determination in sea turtles. The biology of sea turtles, 2, 103-134. ( pdf available here)

Day 4 (Wednesday, August 14) – The “Lost Years”

Witherington, B., S. Hirama, and R. Hardy. 2012. Young sea turtles of the pelagic Sargassum-dominated drift community: habitat use, population density, and threats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 463: 1-22. ( pdf available here)

Additional reading: Mansfield et al. 2021 (see below).

Day 5 (Thursday, August 15) – Green turtle demographics and seagrass decline

Meylan, P.A., R.F. Hardy, J.A. Gray, and A.B. Meylan.  (2022) A half-century of demographic changes in a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) foraging aggregation during an era of seagrass decline. ( pdf available here)

Day 6 (Friday, August 16) – Reproductive Migration and Satellite Telemetry

Godley. B.J., S. Richardson, A.C. Broderick, M.S. Coyne, F. Glen, and G.C. Hays. 2002. Long-term satellite telemetry of the movements and habitat utilization by green turtles in the Mediterranean. Ecography 25:352-362. ( pdf available here)

Day 6 (Friday, August 16 – evening) – The Value of Sea Turtle Necropsies

Work, T. 2000. Sea turtle necropsy manual for biologists in remote refuges. USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Hawaii Field Station 25pp. ( pdf available here, available in Spanish here, other languages available here).

Friday evening presentation and discussion of necropsy methods in BAMZ classroom (behind main hall of aquarium).

Day 7 (Saturday, August 17) – Necropsy Session

Held at BAMZ

Day 8 (Sunday, August 18) – FREE DAY

Day 9 (Monday, August 19) – Diet and Growth

Bjorndal, K. A., Bolten, A. B., Chaloupka, M., Saba, V. S., Bellini, C., Marcovaldi, M. A., … & Kenyon, L. (2017). Ecological regime shift drives declining growth rates of sea turtles throughout the West Atlantic. Global change biology, 23(11), 4556-4568. ( pdf available here).

Additional reading: Bjorndal, 1985 (see below).

Day 10 (Tuesday, August 20) – Conservation Problems and Solutions

Price, J., Drye, B., Domangue, R., & Paladino, F. (2018). Exploring the Role of Artificial Lighting in Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) Nest-Site Selection and Hatchling Disorientation. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 13:415-422. ( pdf available here)

Day 11 (Wednesday, August 21) – Conservation Problems and Solutions

Nelms, S. E., Duncan, E. M., Broderick, A. C., Galloway, T. S., Godfrey, M. H., Hamann, M., … & Godley, B. J. (2016). Plastic and marine turtles: a review and call for research. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(2), 165-181. ( pdf available here)

Additional reading: Duncan et al. 2021 (see below).

Day 12 (Thursday, August 22) – Conservation Problems and Solutions

Lewison, R.L., S.A. Freeman, and L.B. Crowder. 2004. Quantifying the effects of fisheries on threatened species: the impact of pelagic longlines on loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles. Ecology Letters 7:221-231. ( pdf available here)

Additional reading: Putman et al. 2020 (see below).

Day 13 (Friday, August 23) – Conservation Problems and Solutions

Patrício, A. R., Hawkes, L. A., Monsinjon, J. R., Godley, B. J., & Fuentes, M. M. P. B. (2021). Climate change and marine turtles: recent advances and future directions. Endang Species Res 44: 363–395. ( pdf available here)

Additional reading: Fuentes et al. 2024 and Meylan et al. 2024 (see below).

Additional reading (suggested reading):

In addition to the course readings listed above, you may find the following references to be useful:

  • Bacon, J.P., Gray, J.A. and Kitson, L. 2006. Status and conservation of the reptiles and amphibians of the Bermuda Islands. Applied Herpetology 3:323:344. [includes a section on Bermuda turtles] – ( pdf available here)
  • Bjorndal, K. A. (1985). Nutritional ecology of sea turtles. Copeia, 736-751. ( pdf available here)

  • Duncan EM, Broderick AC, Critchell K, Galloway TS, Hamann M, Limpus CJ, Lindeque PK, Santillo D, Tucker AD, Whiting S, Young EJ and Godley BJ (2021) Plastic Pollution and Small Juvenile Marine Turtles: A Potential Evolutionary Trap. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:699521. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.699521. ( pdf available here)

  • Eckert, K.L., K.A. Bjorndal, F.A. Abreu-Grobois, and M. Donnelly. 1999. Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. ( pdf available here)
  • Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Santos, A. J. B., Abreu‐Grobois, A., Briseño‐Dueñas, R., Al‐Khayat, J., Hamza, S., … & Monsinjon, J. R. (2024). Adaptation of sea turtles to climate warming: Will phenological responses be sufficient to counteract changes in reproductive output?. Global Change Biology, 30(1), e16991. ( pdf available here)

  • Hamann, M. et al. 2010. Global research priorities for sea turtles: informing management and conservation in the 21st century. Endangered Species research 11:245-269. – ( pdf available here)
  • Lutz, P. L. and J. A. Musick 1997. Biology of Sea turtles. CRC Press. (A comprehensive review of sea turtle biology)
  • Lutz, P. L., J. A. Musick and J. Wyneken. 2003. Biology of Sea turtles Vol. II. CRC Press. (Additional comprehensive reviews of sea turtle biology)
  • Mansfield, K. L., Wyneken, J., & Luo, J. (2021). First Atlantic satellite tracks of ‘lost years’ green turtles support the importance of the Sargasso Sea as a sea turtle nursery. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288(1950), 20210057. ( pdf available here)

  • Mazaris, A.D., G. Schofield, C. Gkazinou, V. Almpanidou, and G.C. Hays. 2017. Global sea turtle conservation successes. Science Advances. 3: e1600730. ( pdf available here)
  • Meylan, A., A. Arenas, J. C. Zurita, E. Harrison, J. Gray and P. Meylan. 2014. Turtles tagged in developmental habitat in Bermuda nest in Mexico and Costa Rica. Marine Turtle Newsletter 141:15-17. ( pdf available here)
  • Meylan, A. B., Brost, B., Conrad, L. J., Denison, S. H., Flaherty, D. B., Gray, J. A., … & Owens, D. W. (2024). Feminization of a mixed-stock foraging aggregation of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas), 1975–2018. Marine Biology, 171(1), 11. ( pdf available here)
  • Putman, N. F., Hawkins, J., & Gallaway, B. J. (2020). Managing fisheries in a world with more sea turtles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(1930), 20200220. (pdf available here)
  • Rees A.F. and 44 co-authors. 2016. Are we working towards global research priorities for management and conservation of sea turtles. Endangered Species Research 31:337-382. ( pdf available here)
  • Sarkis, S. and M.E. Outerbridge. 2014 Management plan for Bermuda’s Resident Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata), Government of Bermuda, Department of Conservation Services, 33 pp. ( pdf available here)
  • Sterrer, W. The marine life of Bermuda (an excellent, brief guide to the marine life we will see in the field).
  • Stokes, L. and S. Epperly (eds.). 2008. Southeast fisheries sciences center sea turtle research techniques manual. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC. ( pdf available here)
  • Witherington and Witherington. 2015. Our Sea Turtles: A practical guide for the Atlantic and Gulf, from Canada to Mexico. Pineapple Press. This thoroughly illustrate volume is a great introduction to sea turtles in our region and a great teaching tool.