St. Croix Leatherback Project works on projects that work to conserve and protect sea turtles on nesting beaches throughout the Caribbean and in Pacific Mexico. Using genetics, we work to answer questions needed for management – such as leatherback age to maturity, reconstructing family groupings and multiple paternity, and hatching and nest success. We also work on issues related to fishing impacts on marine ecosystems by identifying source populations for sea turtles taken incidentally (bycatch) in fisheries around the world, and particularly those close to the USA.
Our research is conducted in close partnership with the Marine Turtle Genetics Program at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, CA (NOAA-NMFS). We also work in collaboration with many partners to protect leatherback turtles (nesting and hatchling turtles) at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (St. Croix, VI) and support students early in their marine biology careers so they gain field experience and are able to present independent studies at conferences. The project is lead by Kelly R. Stewart, PhD.
Funding and other support has been provided by:
- NOAA – NMFS – Southwest Fisheries Science Center
- US Fish and Wildlife Service Caribbean Region
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation
- Cottages by the Sea – St. Croix
- Lenfest Ocean Program
- Propeller Club of Baltimore
- Columbia Sportswear
- Donations, adoptions and contributions from friends and supporters