The Bermuda Turtle Project, a joint research and protection program of the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) and the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS), celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 – making it by far the longest-continuous sea turtle conservation program that focuses on the animal in its marine environment. To celebrate the milestone, STC and BZS produced a beautiful documentary about the program.
Over the last half century, the Bermuda Turtle Project has discovered nearly everything that is known about the biology and life history of Bermuda’s sea turtles. In the process, the project has provided training for generations of sea turtle biologists and helped contribute to global sea turtle conservation efforts. The ongoing work to protect green turtles that reside in Bermuda during an important phase of their lives is helping recover this species in the Western Hemisphere. And STC’s sustained research and conservation programs in the US, Caribbean and Latin America have been credited with saving the Atlantic green turtle from near extinction and improving the survival outlook for many other turtle populations.
To help promote worldwide sea turtle conservation, every year since 1996 the Bermuda Turtle Project has offered an international course on the biology and conservation of sea turtles. The two-week course consists of lectures, class discussions of assigned readings, a necropsy session, and extensive field work capturing immature green turtles and hawksbills.
Most scientific studies of sea turtles are conducted on nesting beaches where females come ashore to lay their eggs. However, the Bermuda Turtle Project is an in-water project in which turtles are captured in their marine environment in order to learn more about their complex life histories.
Bermuda Turtle Project has assembled important data sets on size and maturity status, growth rates, sex ratios, residency, site fidelity, genetic diversity, and movement patterns in immature green turtles in Bermuda waters. We have assembled similar, but much smaller, data sets for Bermuda hawksbills.