Arlington, US: A collaborative scientific effort involving hundreds of volunteers around the world over a period of seven years, has pioneered new understanding of the key nesting sites of the endangered green sea turtle, and garnered the top prize in conservation mapping for 2011. Andrew DiMatteo, cartographer and database manager of the State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Project and Associate in Research at Duke University, has been announced as the grand prize winner of the International Conservation Mapping Competition by Esri for his work in creating a map of green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting sites around the world.
The map shows the prolific nature of green turtle nesting habits on the global and regional scales allowing for multiple views of the current status of specific populations. Raine Island, Australia, Tortuguero, Costa Rica, and Poilão, Guinea-Bissau were found to be among the top nesting beaches for this species.
The award winning map is an up-to-date global snapshot of the nesting sites of the endangered green turtle, which has the broadest nesting distribution of all sea turtle species. The map was published in the recently released SWOT Report — The State of the World’s Sea Turtles, Vol. 6, and displays 1,167 nesting sites from more than 200 data contributors and published sources. Hundreds of individuals and organizations from over 100 countries voluntarily contributed the data.
The International Conservation Mapping Competition is a partnership with Esri, the Society for Conservation GIS and Conservation magazine. All the award winning maps, which were announced in the June issue of Conservation magazine, were selected for their visual aesthetic and the impact they can provide communities to drive conservation.
The green sea turtle nesting map is the final global map in a series that documents the nesting sites and abundances of each sea turtle species, which was created through the seven-year SWOT collaboration of more than 550 partners — coordinated by Conservation International (CI), the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG), and Duke University.