volunteer to be a citizen scientist with the museum of discovery & science

sea turtle research project

Since South Florida is fortunate enough to have Loggerhead, Green and Leatherback sea turtles nest on our beaches, South Floridians and visitors are invited to become Citizen Scientists and assist the Museum of Discovery & Science with its new sea turtle research project.

The Museum of Discovery and Science is currently working with the Association of Science and Technology Center's Communicating Climate Change initiative that works with science centers and partnering scientific research sites to develop local indicators of climate change in 12 locations across the US.

The Museum's project tests sand temperatures on Fort Lauderdale Beach to determine if the rising or falling temperatures associated with Climate disruption are causing the sand temperatures to rise or fall. This data is important because sea turtle nests are very sensitive to sand temperatures. A difference of a few degrees can change the sex of the eggs; therefore even slight changes in climate may affect sand temperatures on the beaches and alter the outcome of sex ratios within the nest. As incubation temperatures rise, more females develop and at lower temperatures more males will develop.

Museum staff and the Museum's Citizen Scientists set five data loggers on Fort Lauderdale beach. The data loggers were set at different depths corresponding to average turtle nest depths. Citizen Scientist volunteers will collect the data from these loggers a few times a week. The data collected will be charted using special software to track the changes over the next three years.

In an effort to educate the public about sea turtles and the effect climate change may have on the different sea turtles species, the Museum has created a Citizen Science program and is looking for volunteers who are interested in being involved in this research project.

Anyone interested in participating in the Citizen Science program must be able to walk at least a mile on the beach and have their own transport. No previous science experience is necessary and training will be provided.

To sign up: call (954) 713-0929 or email citizenscience@mods.net