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Florida's Population Of Endangered Green Sea Turtles Is Exploding. Where Are They Coming From?

Photo courtesy The Nature Conservancy.
Photo courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

Florida’s population of endangered green sea turtles is exploding.

Now researchers want to learn more by studying the turtles’ genetics on one Central Florida beach.

The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach is among the world’s most significant nesting sites. In the 1980s there were dozens of nests. Today there are thousands.

Gustavo Stahelin of the University of Central Florida says now researchers want to know more about the population’s genetics. If it is not diverse "that would mean that the green turtles from the 80s were really well successful, and their offspring is coming back to nest and is recolonizing or is repopulating that entire area.”

But he says if it is that would mean turtles from across the globe could be repopulating the beach. Florida is home to the nation’s largest number of sea turtle nests.


Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.