Blog Post By: Christine Segnari
On the first night walk of nesting season, the EBSP Staff Night Walk on June 2nd, we had an exciting discovery. We found a PIT tag in this turtle’s shoulder, and this is the first time we have encountered a sea turtle with a PIT tag during a night walk. PIT tags, also known as Passive Integrated Transponders, are used by both aquariums and several beaches to track the sea turtles they encounter or help. While Edisto Beach State Park (EBSP) do not tag the Loggerhead Sea Turtles that appear on our beach, we do check for these tags with any turtle we encounter. Using a scanner, we are able to detect the microchip (the PIT tag), and we get a series of numbers identifying the sea turtle.
By scanning the PIT tag of our night walk turtle, we were able to see its long journey. Notably, back in 2016, this sea turtle had nested at Wassaw Beach in Georgia (where they do tag the sea turtles they encounter). It was amazing to see the nesting history of this turtle and get a more accurate understanding of where turtles nest. Though it was once believed that Loggerhead Sea Turtles return to the exact same beach they hatched from, that is not entirely true. Sea turtles use the Earth’s magnetic field as a guide to find the beach to nest on, meaning the turtle may not be completely accurate and nest on a different beach throughout each nesting season. However, some turtles are able to return to the beach they hatched from. Through our DNA samples, we were able to see that one sea turtle laid all four of her nests on Edisto Beach State Park one season, all within our 1.5 miles of beach.
Sea Turtle Biologist