Since 2003, GoBeyond has teamed up with the British Virgin Islands Department of Conservation and Fisheries as part of a global initiative to monitor the growth rate and migration patterns of sea turtles. This year, with the help of data collected by GoBeyond BVI student volunteers, researchers have shown that juvenile turtles living in the shallow waters of the BVI’s northernmost island, Anegada, grow faster than anywhere else in the world.
On the surface, this study seems like a dry presentation of data, but beneath the numbers and graphs its findings are pretty revolutionary. Within the notoriously exclusive circles of marine reptile researchers, the Indian and Pacific oceans were assumed to facilitate the growth of sea turtles better than the Caribbean. Forgive the pun, but the findings of this study blow that concept out of the water. Despite populations of Hawksbill sea turtles dwindling significantly since the 1950s, this evidence shows that conservation efforts for the at-risk species are working throughout the Caribbean.
While the benefits of students entering real life research scenarios is obvious for their own personal growth, the GoBeyond conservation volunteer work they do in the BVI supports the international research community as well as the populations of sea turtles. The data GoBeyond student volunteers collect supports studies like these, which are eventually used to brainstorm applicable methods of conservation. Monitoring critically endangered species allows us to effectively reverse the trend that leads to extinction. Unfortunately, the article fails to convey just how much fun catching sea turtles can be! Watch the wildlife volunteer video above, and you’ll see what we mean.