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Nesting Sea Turtles In Florida Are Smaller. Researchers Don't Know Why

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

A new study shows that nesting sea turtles on Florida beaches are getting smaller. 

Researchers don’t know why. 

The University of Central Florida study shows that nesting loggerheads decreased in size on average by about an inch. 

For green sea turtles, it was an inch and a half. 

Researchers think juvenile turtles might be growing more slowly because they are having a harder time finding food as a result of habitat degradation or competition from other turtles.

The researchers discovered the trend by comparing the shell lengths of nearly 10,000 loggerheads and 3,000 green sea turtles. 

The measurements were collected at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge over a 37-year period, ending in 2019. 

The refuge is a globally significant sea turtle nesting site. 

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