Sea turtle research of the NTOU
Since 1997 the sea turtle research team of the National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU, ntou.edu.tw) has been visiting Lanyu Island from June to September. Around 10 people are in this team, including postgraduates, college students and volunteers. We patrol the nesting beach every night, check and measure each turtle and record the number of eggs.
Sometimes we rescue mature turtles trapped in the wild pineapple forest (Pandanus tectorius) or by a rock on their way back to the sea.
When baby sea turtles hatch we collect and measure the hatchlings and then release them.
July and August is the tourist season in Lanyu. Turtles are disturbed due to too many tourists visiting this island and looking for green turtles in the night. For this reason we provide sea turtle conservation education explanations every night, with the hope that the visitors understand the sea turtles’ ecology and behaviour and so reduce their interference when they encounter the turtles on the beach.
Statistics on Lanyu’s nesting sea turtles
Nesting sea turtle research in Lanyu began in 1997. Only the green turtle lays eggs on this island. On an average, nine turtles visit this island and lay eggs each year. But in recent years it seems that more and more mature female turtles join together in nesting. In Lanyu, the number of mother turtles peaks in a mass nesting every 5 to 8 years (see Fig. below).
In addition, each time a mass nesting event occurs the turtles are more numerous than before. For this reason, scientists expect the nesting turtles’ population on Lanyu to increase in future.
Location and conditions
Lanyu (Orchid island) has a tropical rainforest climate, the mean temperature being around 26 °C, so the mature turtles can lay eggs all year round. The major nesting season is from June to September.
Badai Bay and Dongqing Bay are the two recorded regions where the green turtles nest. However, more than 80% of the turtles nest in Badai Bay.
Author: Tseng Cheng-Tsung
Publication: Cheng, I-Jiunn, Wan-hwa Cheng, Tseng Cheng-Tsung, 2016. 36th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Lima, Peru. Sea turtle research team of the National Taiwan Ocean University, ntou.edu.tw
PS: Whenever you are visiting Lanyu during the turtle nesting season, please be careful and do not disturb this fascinating but delicate creatures! Best, your Lanyu Web Team
For more infos about different species of sea turtles check Sea turtles in the Pacific