Turtles of Trinidad (Part 2) with Ainslie

This is the second (and the last) in this series of the turtles in Trinidad, and it will explore the second project that focuses on the species.

Ainslie Mackenzie is on the fundraising team for the expedition and she is also leading a marine turtle project.

Ainslie

  1. Why do you want to go to Trinidad?

I think it will be an amazing experience to gain field training in the tropics with so many different species as well as learning a lot of new skills from the Geography project.

  1. What are you most looking forward to?

Probably getting to see turtles up close and to see the turtles hatching.

  1. What are you least looking forward to?

The humid heat- very sweaty!

  1. What is your project about?

My project will be focused on Leatherback turtles. I will be collecting egg temperatures from the female turtles as they are laying. This gives an indication of their core body temperature and combined with the data from the past five years, we can see if they have been affected by any environmental changes. I will also be putting temperature loggers into the turtle nests to see what temperature the eggs are being incubated at. I hope this will be continued in years to come so that we can see whether factors like climate change have an effect on the incubation.

  1. Why are you interested in this? What are the benefits of your research?

I think it is very interesting to see whether climate change is currently having an effect on turtles in Trinidad and building up a dataset like this could be valuable to look back on for comparison in years to come. Turtles also have temperature determined gender so if the incubation is too warm, it could be almost entirely females which hatch. This would be bad news for turtle reproduction in the future and with data like this, it might be possible to predict whether this will be an issue or not in Trinidad.

Trinidad is an ideal spot to study marine turtle nests as the island’s coasts are the primary nesting sites of five out of the seven species globally.  Thus, the island plays a crucial role in preserving the threatened species. Studying environmental change here, particular mean surface temperature increase, will give us more of an insight into the problems that turtle populations are facing. Concern for these animals is so great that the conservation efforts that are being undertaken in Trinidad were featured on the BBC’s Blue Plant 2 with David Attenborough.

We hope that our research will benefit Leatherback turtles in Trinidad and we will also be taking part in beach clean-ups to help rid the coast of plastic pollution. If this is something that interests you, there are many ways you can get involved and make a difference:

  • Check out the previous blog post on the first Leatherback turtle project: Turtles in Trinidad (Part 1) with Louise
  • Follow this blog and keep up to date with our social media pages:
    Facebook
    Twitter
  • Donate to our gofundme page! This one is particularly important as we are heading out to Trinidad in less that 2 months. Any donation you can afford, would be much appreciated as every little helps, and as an incentive, we offer some cool gifts as a thank you if you donate over £5.

Thank you for reading!

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