Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Georgia Project

Demographic Estimation and Conservation Modeling for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle

October 2016 - June 2020


Participating Agencies

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Successful recovery of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle will hinge on decisions about where to invest limited resources into conservation actions, and these decisions will be informed by predictions of population response to each action. This study focuses on the development of decision or scenario planning models for the northern recovery unit of the turtle. We will first construct a demographic model by integrating data from various sources, including genetic mark-recapture data, nest counts, and in-water monitoring data. Next, we will outfit this model as a scenario/decision analysis tool and simulate the model to product output of use to managers. The main purpose of the model is to help state agency resource managers in the northern recovery unit discern the relative efficacy of actions under their control, to assess the relative contributions of stressors so that broad scope conservation strategies may be devised, and to identify key uncertainties in sea turtle demography to which targeted information gathering would yield more effective conservation delivery.