Buck Island Turtles


Dataset credit

Data provider
USGS Greater Everglades Sea Turtles
Originating data center
Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)


Primary contact Kristen Hart USGS Greater Everglades Sea Turtles
Data entry Michael Coyne seaturtle.org



Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), a marine protected area located in the US Virgin Islands, is a crucial nesting area for endangered hawksbills, green turtles, leatherback turtles, and loggerheads. Since the recent expansion of the USVI marine protected area at BIRNM, newly included areas have not yet been investigated for sea turtle habitat use. Thus, we are conducting a sea turtle tagging and tracking project to quantify real-time habitat-use of sea turtles within and around BIRNM.

We capture reproductive females on nesting beaches and perform a standard workup procedure on each one, including marking each turtle with internal PIT tags and taking standard measurements, blood samples, photographs, and a biopsy punch for isotope (diet) analysis. We are using these data sets to determine whether current BIRNM boundaries encompass habitats most preferred by sea turtles, determine connections between turtles at BIRNM and other protected areas, identify core areas of turtle use, and quantify time spent in and around BIRNM. Our research addresses specific Recovery Objectives outlined in the Federal Recovery Plans for multiple protected species. Our data can be used as the basis for future adaptive management of BIRNM boundaries and also assist in nesting beach surveys conducted by National Park Service (NPS). We received financial support from NPS and USGS, and substantial in-kind support from NPS, without which this project would not have been possible.

In a concurrent study, we deployed an array of 19 acoustic receivers within BIRNM to identify patterns of habitat use for nesting females and turtles captured in the water; an overarching goal of that project is to determine which areas of BIRNM turtles use most often. The NPS and other university colleagues (UMass, UVI) have initiated additional BIRNM acoustic tracking projects, which have substantially augmented and expanded our existing array of receivers to extend past BIRNM borders. We have been maintaining our receivers while collaborating with NPS and other colleagues to get the most out of the expanding array of receivers in the region. By doing so, we can identify core areas of use by all turtles (by species and life stage) and determine the amount of time spent within and outside of the BIRNM.



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 turtles73,622
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2011-08-23
Date, End2020-02-04
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude8.34 - 26.18
Longitude-111.06 - -29.62
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 790)
Traveled (km)360,611
Travel hours486,241
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