During mass-nesting events of olive ridley sea turtles, thousands of adult female turtles emerge from the ocean simultaneously to lay their eggs along limited stretches of ocean beaches. These mass-nesting events, or arribadas (“arrivals” in Spanish), raise many interesting questions. For example, how do female turtles navigate to the specific beaches where mass-nesting events occur? How do turtles coordinate their behavior so that thousands of individuals emerge on a beach at the same time to lay their eggs? And why do turtles engage in mass-nesting at some beaches year after year, while ignoring other, seemingly identical beaches nearby?
The following video summarizes one ongoing project:
Video: The Mystery of Mass-Nesting Sea Turtles – National Geographic (2015)
Sykora-Bodie, S. T., Bezy, V., Johnston, D. W., Newton, E., and K. J. Lohmann. 2017. Quantifying nearshore sea turtle densities: applications of unmanned aerial systems for population assessments. Scientific Reports 7:17690.
Gray, P. C., Fleishman, A. B., Klein, D. J., McKown, M. W., Bezy, V. S., Lohmann, K. J., and D. W. Johnston. 2019. A convolutional neural network for detecting sea turtles in drone imagery. Methods in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.13132