Mauna Lani Bay Tagging Trip
January 27, 2022
The HPA STRP Directors Laura Jim and Marc Rice traveled with 10 HPA students to Mauna Lani Bay where we were hosted by Pi’i Laeha, Director of the Mauna Lani Auberge Resort’s (MLAR) Malama Honu Program.
The purpose of the trip was to capture, tag, record morphometric data and conduct health assessment of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the area of Mauna Lani Bay, Hawaii Island, Hawaii.
- Monitoring of green and hawksbill turtle populations along the leeward coast of Hawaii Island to determine changes in growth rates, population density, feeding preferences, recruitment habitats and health status (e.g., infectious diseases like fibropapilloatosis).
- Help to assess the ratio of males to females in the Hawaiian green turtle RMU (regional management unit) as it relates to climate change induced feminization of the population.
. The 10 students that participated in the activity are members of the STRP team and had undergone 4 classes on the biology and ecology of sea turtles and how to work safely with honu in the field.
We were able to capture and process 10 honu during the day. Five of the honu were recaptures from previous tagging trips and 5 were new captures. They ranged in size from 40 cm (7.6 kg) straight carapace length (SCL) to 65 cm SCL (34 kg). All 10 honu were safely released back into the water approximately 30 minutes after they were captured.
Table 1. Calculated growth rate of recaptured honu.
|Tag number||location of capture||date of capture||TIME INTERVAL yrs||SCL||Weight (KG)||Rate of growth (cm/yr)||wt. gain/yr (kg)|
Below is a gallery of pictures of the students working with the honu and releasing them back into the ocean.