On Saturday, I began preparing the kit for our in-water work, which we are hoping to start next week. This involved labelling blood collection tubes, packing syringes into resealable plastic bags, preparing notebook data sheets, and typing up our blood sample centrifugation protocol.
In the evening, Kate led an in-water training session for the Ocean Spirits volunteers, as there may be occasional opportunities for them to join us on the boat. Unfortunately, a tropical depression passing through the area meant that we couldn’t start the in-water work on Monday as planned, but we made it out on Thursday – 2022 blood sample collection is officially underway!
We collected data from two hawksbill turtles (one of which was an adult female who is most likely already nesting in the area), and six green turtles. Whilst we were on the boat, we also stopped off at the remote uninhabited island to install two camera traps, look for signs of turtle activity and look for any turtle remains. Once we were back on the mainland, I centrifuged the blood samples (so that we have both whole blood and blood plasma samples), ready to take to the SGU lab.
The rest of the week was filled with leatherback night patrols, a ResM supervisory meeting (with Kate, Dave and my Plymouth supervisors Dr Clare Embling and Dr Martin Attrill), and helping the volunteers replace some of the transect markers along Levera Beach.