Monitoring the breeding activity of the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the area of the NMPZ, is one of the main responsibilities of the Management Agency. The purpose of this research work is to record accurately the parameters that affect the nesting of sea turtles in Laganas Bay, Zakynthos, in order to apply the right tools for optimization of the management measures and protective measures in the area of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos.
Within the framework of the program, data collection of environmental parameters that are related to and/or influence the loggerhead sea turtle nesting activity on the beaches of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos are conducted. Furthermore the impact of human activity on or adjacent to the nesting beaches is also subject to regular assessment. The six beaches are Gerakas, Daphne, Sekania, Kalamaki East, Kalamaki West and Marathonissi.
In particular the research project includes:
• The recording of sea turtle nesting activity on the six beaches for the period from mid-May to early September.
• On-site protection of nests (with special wooden cages or relocation to safer sites on the same beach) when necessary.
• The recording of hatched nests following incubationof their nests from mid-July to late October.
• Mapping the locations of nests on the beaches on a GIS system. The mapping is recorded using highly accurate hand held GPS units that are accurate to within 5 metres.
• Mapping the physical characteristics of each beach on a GIS system. The mapping is made using highly accurate hand held GPS units that are accurate to within 5 metres.
• Recording relevant natural factors (e.g. vegetation, sea and storm lines, predation, beach slope, beach moisture and compaction levels, sand temperature etc) using specific scientific instruments.
• Recording relevant anthropogenic factors (e.g. placement of beach furniture, visitor beach use distribition, light pollution levels, entrances, buildings, etc.) using of special scientific instruments.