Digital Infrastructure Seeks to Improve Global Collaboration and Insight on Migration Patterns and Health of Sea Turtles
BOISE, Idaho, June 16, 2020 – Biomark today announced the launch of a database that will further sea turtle research and conservation efforts where biologists and others in the conservation community can work collaboratively to exchange tagging and sighting information. The Sea Turtle Tagging Database was created in partnership with Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a nonprofit organization that promotes the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.
The ability to identify and track individual sea turtles over many seasons and throughout their lifetime provides a wealth of knowledge about biology, behavior and movement. Biomark’s Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags were developed as a reliable, life-long, and minimally intrusive technique to identify and track individual animals.
“Biomark has supplied PIT tags to the sea turtle community for many years,” said Brian Beckley, president, Biomark. “From these relationships, we have upgraded the technology to ensure they are sea turtle friendly, while reducing plastic waste and adding new features such as backlit displays to our handheld readers for nighttime nesting studies. We have built upon existing data collection technology to create this database, which is a natural extension in support of our customers. By making the database open access, we can increase the potential to positively impact sea turtle conservation efforts on a global scale.”
The value of a PIT tag is inherently linked to re-sight potential, which may occur beyond the geographic range of an individual project. Despite this, there is limited infrastructure for data sharing, and re-sighting data (along with biological data that are typically paired to it) may not be currently leveraged to their full potential.
The Database was created as a strategic conservation project built by leveraging existing Biomark software frameworks. “Working towards the recovery of endangered species is often dependent on collaboration and the availability of data from partners, especially when dealing with long-lived, migratory animals,” said Chris Beasley, director of biological services, Biomark. “The goal of the database is to enable researchers and organizations involved in sea turtle conservation to have access to a central storage location for their data, at no cost, where they control what data to share with others in the community.”
Collaborators at Loggerhead Marinelife Center ensured that the data points collected and features available would deliver value to others in the sea turtle community, including the ability to include a variety of tag types.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Biomark on this database,” said Dr. Justin Perrault, director of research, Loggerhead Marinelife Center. “By having a single, user-friendly, internationally cooperative system, we will be able to easily identify unknown individual sea turtles nesting on our beaches and using our local waters. We are excited for the potential collaborative nature of this project and how it will connect sea turtle researchers across the globe.”
The Database was introduced to more than 68 organizations involved in conservation and research efforts during a preview webinar in May 2020. Since then, improvements and updates have been made to the Database based upon user input. To date, there are 25 participants from three countries registered on the Database, which is accessible at no cost to participants in the sea turtle community. To learn more and register, visit: www.seaturtledb.com
Biomark is a worldwide supplier of electronic identification and related monitoring systems to the fish and wildlife conservation communities and aquaculture industry. Biomark is an Aquaculture portfolio of digital products within Merck Animal Health.
Biomark specializes in low frequency RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags also referred to as Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags and related monitoring equipment and services. They integrate these products by focusing on in-house design and manufacturing and providing installation services and maintenance. The monitoring systems collect identification data at specific and strategic locations to provide researchers valuable animal intelligence for management decisions. Biomark also provides specialized services including fish tagging, statistical analysis, software development, study execution, report writing and computational model development to support statistically robust solutions.
Founded in 1990, Biomark continues their specific focus on animal identification and monitoring that enables them to lead the way in product development, innovation and data solutions, positively impacting conservation, restoration and smart management.
Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of digitally connected identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them.
About Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 360,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.