Mote scientists and volunteers take to Sarasota and Manatee shores to look for turtle nests each day.
Beginning in May each year, Mote Marine Laboratory volunteers and scientists look for sea turtle nests stretching from Longboat Key to Venice.
Volunteers wake up at the crack of dawn to head to their assigned beach to look for new nests that they then mark with pink Mote flags to signal the track the mother turtle took. Later Mote scientists head to the beach to jot down all of the data.
"We are out here every day looking for new nesting activities as well as checking on existing nests," said Senior Biologist Melissa Bernhard. "We are documenting and collecting nesting data to help look at sea turtle population levels but also to protect our local nest from potential harm."
Two paths can be found while looking for turtle nests, either there was a successful nesting or there was a false crawl, meaning the mother turtle came on shore and didn't lay her eggs.
"(False crawls) naturally occurs about 50% of the time," Bernhard said. "(Sometimes) the turtle doesn't like what she sees when she comes out. Either the sand is different than she wanted it, the slope is different, or maybe she's got scared away by something...and she'll try again later."
Mote watches for turtle nests and false crawls from loggerhead and green turtles on Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice.