STRDs part 2 : The state of the world’s sea turtles (SWOT)

Earlier I introduced the wish at Osa Conservation‘s sea turtle program for some solution to unify data entry by volunteers during and/or after their beach patrols. In part two, I will look at one of the oldest solutions I could find on line.

“Founded in 2003, SWOT is a partnership among Oceanic Society, the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Duke University’s OBIS-SEAMAP, and a growing international network of institutions and individuals. This powerful group—the SWOT Team—works to compile and publish global sea turtle data that support conservation and management efforts at the international, national, and local scales.”

This is an impressive bunch of organizations and the fact that after 17 years it is still in operation means a lot. The website claims that more than 1500 volunteers have been adding data to the database which contains 6000 ‘nesting records’ from 3000 sites/beaches. Much of the data is publicly available (under terms of use which I have not checked) and on-line browse-able.

I downloaded the blank forms and found that the data is in part highly aggregated, i.e. giving overview numbers of nests per beach, and in part very specific about individual turtles.

In my opinion it is worth the while to participate in this collection effort, but it is not a support for data collection during the beach patrols.

One footnote, even though it may be a very commendable project, I was put off by the photo of the pop-up that you get when you enter the website. They ask you to participate and show a photo of a man in wet suit holding a sea turtle in the air, as if he was proud to have caught one. I wonder what the turtle thought about it.

In the next part, I will talk about the Turtle Research and Monitoring Database System (TREDS), equally old but developed for beach patrol work.

2 thoughts on “STRDs part 2 : The state of the world’s sea turtles (SWOT)

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