Blog Post By: Sarah Glover, Sea Turtle Intern
Our turtle program here at Edisto Beach State Park participates in a genetic study conducted by Dr. Brian Shamblin at the University of Georgia. This study takes place along the coast in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and in parts of Florida. For each nest laid on our beach, we take one egg and send its shell to UGA, where Dr. Shamblin’s team extracts the mothers DNA. This DNA study allows us to see where these mother turtles are nesting, as well as how many times they nest a season. We can even make family connections. We have had mother-daughter pairs nesting on our beach. We have even had nesting grandmothers!
It was once believed that sea turtles always returned to the beach that they hatched from. However, this study has proven that this is not necessarily the case. Since sea turtles use the earth’s magnetic field for navigation, they can find the general area, but not always the exact beach that they hatched from. Some turtles do nest on the same beach multiple times a season, so chances are, they hatched from that beach or a surrounding area. On the other hand, some turtles will nest on several beaches, even throughout multiple states.
Sea Turtle Biologist