NAFTRG Conducts Sampling Sessions in Florida

by Nicole Salvatico 

Recently, the North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group (NAFTRG) held its October sampling in the Florida springs of Manatee, Fanning, and Ichetuknee. Over the course of the week, members Roxanne Losey, Dan and Eleanor Barrett, Jessy Wayles, and Nicole Salvatico were joined by students from the University of Central Florida and members of the Turtle and Tortoise Club of Central Florida. For the first three days, Manatee was sampled four times and Fanning twice. Conditions at Fanning were particularly rewarding, bringing in 66 turtles in just one go! Overall, the Manatee and Fanning samples yielded a combined total of more than 200 turtles.

This trip marked the second collaboration with Jerry Johnston from Santa Fe College. The NAFTRG first partnered with Jerry last March for a sample of Ichetuknee's three-mile run of spring systems. Despite a small crew, more than 230 turtles were caught during the two day effort.

Data from this long-term population study has many applications, one of which - individual turtle movement - presented itself on this trip. Manatee and Fanning Springs are located west of Gainesville along the Suwannee River. While sampling Fanning, a Suwannee cooter (Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis) was caught with markings from another study currently being conducted by Jerry Johnston along the Santa Fe River. The meeting of the two rivers is over 20 miles away!

Next up is a November sampling session at Comal Springs in Texas. To learn more about volunteering or to see future dates and locations, check out our page.