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Comparing quantity of marine debris to loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting and non-nesting emergence activity on Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA

Martin, Jeannie Miller, Jambeck, Jenna R., Ondich, Breanna L., Norton, Terry M.
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.139 pp. 1-5
Caretta caretta, coasts, death, ingestion, marine debris, nesting, plastics, risk, sea turtles, water pollution, Georgia
Marine debris is defined as any manmade item, commonly plastics, which ends up in the ocean regardless of the source. Debris found along coastlines can cause harm or even death to nesting and hatchling sea turtles through ingestion, entrapment, or entanglement. Jekyll Island is a prominent nesting beach for loggerhead sea turtles with over 1700 emergences from 2012 to 2017. This study uses debris logged through NOAA's Marine Debris Tracker and loggerhead sea turtle nesting activity on Jekyll Island to generate density maps and evaluate possible interactions. These maps provide valuable information on portions of the coast most at risk for debris and sea turtle interactions. Using these maps help the GSTC Marine Debris Initiative focus citizen science efforts in high overlap areas of the beach. With marine debris being a global issue that impacts all sea turtle and beach nesting species, lessons learned can be applied across a wide range of taxa and management strategies.