North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Awareness

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores / Wendy Cluse

Dataset credit

Data provider
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Originating data center
Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)
Project partner
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC)


Primary contact Michele Lamping North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Data entry Michael Coyne



The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores began satellite tagging sea turtles it releases in 2007. The Aquarium works with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) on rescuing imperiled hatchlings. Most of the hatchlings are released as soon as they recover, but a few remain awhile longer in educational programs or exhibits. These grown turtles are outfitted with the satellite tags and released when they are between the ages of two and three years old.

At that age, their carapaces are large enough to support the transmitter tags that allow their movements to be tracked. The transmitters, about three inches long, are affixed to the shells with epoxy. A saltwater cutoff switch shuts down the devices when the turtles dive, prolonging battery life. Sometimes the transmitters stop signaling for several days or weeks for unknown reasons, and then will resume operation. The lightweight, streamlined mechanisms have minimal effect on the turtles’ maneuverability. The duration of the battery determines how long the tag transmits data on the turtle locations. The time varies with each tag and turtle.

Researchers and Aquarium staff use the information to learn more about sea turtles in general, and about the behavior patterns of turtles that have been rescued and reared in an aquarium setting their entire lives.

The Aquarium’s sea turtle exhibits and programs are in keeping with the Aquarium’s overall mission: To inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic habitats. While at the Aquarium, rescued hatchlings are prominently exhibited in a rehabilitation room. The display, showing several tanks with recovering sea turtle hatchlings rescued from local beaches, is central to a larger sea turtle rehabilitation and education exhibit, Loggerhead Odyssey. The exhibit combines interesting facts of sea turtle biology with conservation messages through graphic panels, a large, mounted sea turtle skeleton, and a scale-model nest with hatchlings. The up-close encounters with the sea turtles on exhibit and in programs help to bring home key conservation messages to visitors.

The NCWRC works with volunteers and other agencies to monitor turtle nests, rescue weak or sick hatchlings, and excavate nests when necessary. NCWRC brings the hatchlings to the Aquarium for care. Most of the hatchlings are Atlantic loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), with an occasional green turtle (Chelonia mydas). The Aquarium assists with rehabilitation and rescue of cold-stunned or injured juvenile sea turtles as well.

The main goal of the Sea Turtle Awareness project is education of residents and visitors through local release and web-site tracking methods. A secondary goal is to compile a long-term data base of migratory patterns for turtles that have been raised in captivity for multiple years.



Supplemental information

Visit STAT's project page for additional information.




This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
prognumProgram number
tag_idPTT ID
lcLocation class
iqQuality indicator
dir1Dir 1
nb_mesNumber of messages received
big_nb_mesdefinition not provided
best_levelBest signal strength in dB
pass_durationPass duration in seconds
nopcNumber Of Plausibility Checks successful (from 0-4)
calcul_freqCalculated frequency
altitudeAltitude used for location calculation
speciesSpecies name
project_idSTAT Project ID
lc_filterParameters to location filtering
speed_filterParameters to speed filtering
distance_filterParameters to distance filtering
topo_filterParameters to topo filtering
time_filterParameters to time filtering
angle_filterParameters to angle filtering
life_stageLife stage of the animal
genderGender of the animal
wetdryWet or dry
wetdry_filterParameters to Wet or dry filterint
obs_datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
timezone_hTime difference from UTC
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles7,376
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2007-09-15
Date, End2016-06-16
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude31.86 - 46.27
Longitude-80.07 - -32.99
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 493)
Traveled (km)98,349
Travel hours65,370
Contr. throughSatellite Tracking and Analysis Tool
Sharing policy Permission required
Shared with SWOT
GBIF (via DOI)*
* Aggregated summary
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics