Collaborative, data-driven approaches to reduce threats at sea yield the best results for sea turtle conservation.
Protecting nesting beaches is not enough to ensure the long-term survival of sea turtle populations. Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water and face the greatest threats in marine habitats. In order to improve protections for turtles at sea, we need to know more about where they go and how they use their ocean environment.
Upwell scientists discover and document behaviors and movements of turtles at all life history stages, analyzing usage of internesting, nursery, foraging and migration habitats in the context of environmental drivers and human threats. Our research findings provide the data needed to establish marine protected areas and transboundary conservation corridors to protect hatchling, juvenile and adult turtles in coastal and offshore habitats.
We tag and track turtles at various life history stages to generate new data to fill gaps. Citizen scientists and fishing vessels also provide Upwell with data on sea turtle species they observe, their locations, behaviors and environmental conditions at the time the observations are recorded.
We examine the data, looking for specific patterns in sea turtle movements and distribution as well as wider trends in population structure and health. Upwell scientists also use the data to examine environmental and climatological conditions and how they influence sea turtle behavior and movements.
We model high-use areas and foraging habitats, factoring in shifting oceanic conditions like those associated with climate change, to predict sea turtle distribution and abundance. Working with partners around the globe, Upwell deploys cutting-edge scientific models to inform dynamic fisheries management and transboundary conservation efforts to improve protections for endangered populations of marine turtles worldwide.
Regional Management Units (RMUs) are fundamental units in sea turtle conservation. Experts use RMUs to distinguish thriving sea turtle populations from threatened ones. RMUs promote more targeted conservation measures tailored to the needs of each sea turtle population by providing detailed data on regional populations rather than global trends or status.
Upwell scientists draw on an array of technologies and methodologies to collect data on turtles in marine environments and to apply our findings in collaboration with key stakeholders to improve protections for turtles at sea. These include but are not limited to: satellite tags, acoustic tags, habitat-based predictive models and smartphone applications.