Our tools

What tools do we use for this study?  A lot!


  • We use Honda All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) to patrol our entire survey area. Many thousands of kilometers are driven each summer and we have found that that Honda has been our most reliable ATV.
  • Our study is a Mark / Recapture study where we utilize Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags and flipper tags to “mark” the leatherbacks we encounter. Since 2001, our team along with other groups in Florida have identified hundreds of individual leatherback turtles nesting in Florida.
  • Leatherbacks that are encountered are measured using standardized measurement methods, and a small tissue sample is collected using a very small tissue biopsy punch for later genetic analysis.
  • Each season we use the latest tracking technology and bio-logging devices to help to understand where leatherbacks spend their time while near the coast of Florida, how they locate a suitable nesting beach and how often they are able to nest each season. Occasionally we are even asked by manufacturers to test out new gear for them.
  • During the season the team uses specialized databases and scripts to process real-time data such as tracking data for publishing to our website.

Please consider donating a few dollars to help us continue this important study.

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