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

Florida Project

Observing Flight Initiation Distances of Florida Chelonia mydas in the Crystal Bay Area

May 2021 - October 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Sea Turtle Conservancy

Vessel strikes have become a more significant threat as an increasing number of sea turtles around the world, and especially in Florida, are stranded (injured or killed) due to an increase in the number of strikes by recreational or commercial vessels over the past several decades. For effective management strategies to be established, threats to sea turtles must be thoroughly understood. Observing how green turtles (Chelonia mydas) react to oncoming vessels at varying speeds will allow for critical information surrounding these interactions to be recorded. We will conduct observational boat surveys to measure turtle response and flight initiation distance from the vessel and compare behaviors of turtles of different size classes. This research looks to improve the available information on a relevant threat for sea turtles not only in Florida but globally and will be useful for management organizations to help reduce vessel-related mortality.