Workshops + Regional Meetings


There will be eleven workshops held prior to ISTS40. Each workshop has a fee of USD$10 to attend and will take place within a designated private space within the online virtual environment (exact location within the space will be provided to registered attendees prior to the workshop). The scheduling of each workshop is based on the time zone of the workshop facilitator and minimise overlap with other workshops/regional meetings. Registration for workshops closes on 17th March 2022.

To determine the timing of each workshop within your UTC time zone, please use the planner at the bottom of this page (remember to select the blue tab at the bottom of the planner that corresponds to your UTC time zone). To find out the UTC time zone of the location you are in, please select here.

Name of Organiser(s): Mariana Fuentes

Description: Sea turtles experience multiple stressors across all of their life stages. The cumulative effects of multiple stressors are magnified by synergistic interactions, which can cause more impact than the additive impact of individual stressors. However, impact assessments from stressors on sea turtles are typically focused on isolated stressors at a particular time and location. Relatively few studies have investigated cumulative, synergistic, and secondary effects of different stressors across a broad spatial scale, this masks the real magnitude of potential impacts on sea turtles since the cascading effects caused by synergies are unaccounted for. This lack of consideration for cumulative and synergetic stressors is mainly driven by the lack of knowledge on the effects of interactions and the existence of appropriate approaches to quantify synergies. This workshop aims to highlight this issue and to start discussions to advance how we account for cumulative and synergetic threats. The workshop will be interactive and consist of a presentation setting the issue and bringing attention to approaches used by other fields to address the complex nature of threat assessments. This will be followed by interactive exercises to better understand the synchronous and asynchronous nature of stressors to sea turtles across multiple life-stages and environments and discussions on how we can move forward in this field. Participants should be invested in the topic and ready to contribute and participate.

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Name of Organiser(s): Brad Nahill, Christine Hof, Michael Jensen, Alex Robillard

Description: Despite the international tortoiseshell trade closure in the 1990s, the illegal marine turtle trade continues in many countries worldwide, threatening the species' nascent recovery. With a marine turtle supply chain now more fragmented and opaque – making policy making and enforcement increasingly difficult - this workshop will bring together advocates and organizations working in this space to learn of recent research and new tools to combat the marine turtle trade, and be given the opportunity to share perspectives on what is working and what is not to reduce the illegal trade.

In this workshop, we offer training sessions on a newly developed app that can recognize fake vs real tortoiseshell from photos and on ShellBank – a program that is using DNA samples to determine where illegally traded shells are originating. Following, groups and individuals working on marine turtle trade will be provided with the opportunity to share their latest work and project outcomes, with a forum discussion on the efforts required to collectively reduce the illegal trade. Breakout sessions provide all participants an opportunity to further network with colleagues from around the world on tackling this important issue.

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Name of Organiser(s): Karen Arthur

Description: The Single Species Action Plan for the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) in the South Pacific Ocean (Loggerhead SSAP) was agreed by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) in 2014. The life cycle of loggerheads in the south Pacific is known to encompass the entire south Pacific Ocean basin with turtles nesting in Australia and New Caledonia, post-hatchlings dispersing across the Pacific to South America and then settling in foraging grounds across the entire region. As such, the recovery of this threatened stock is the responsibility of nations across the south Pacific.

ISTS40 provides an opportunity to bring together range states and other interested parties to revisit the Loggerhead SSAP. The workshop will discuss the implementation of the SSAP, its success, limitations and a way forward. The workshop is intended to reconnect range states, researchers and communities across the region. It will open a dialog about progress implementing the SSAP, share contemporary information about the stock and threats affecting loggerhead turtles in the south Pacific. The workshop will also identify gaps in knowledge or management that would benefit from immediate on ground action.

The purpose of the workshop is to reignite a specific focus on loggerheads in the south Pacific, assess whether the plan is still fit for purpose and identify priority projects that need to continue in the region or be initiated to support the recovery of this population.

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Name of Organiser(s): Mark Hamann and Heidrun Frisch-Nwakanma

Description: At the workshop, we will launch the latest in a series of assessments undertaken by the Advisory Committee of the IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU: a review of the conservation status of the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) with regard to its distinct management units within the IOSEA region. The authors collated and synthesised information from the scientific and grey literature, national reports from Signatory States to the MOU, and experts within each of the four IOSEA sub-regions. Case studies presenting the situation in different rookeries will be considered, and recommendations discussed.

In undertaking the ‘Hawksbill Assessment’, authors have been able to make extensive use of TurtleNet, an interactive atlas that shows nesting, courtship, feeding and migration routes of marine turtles launched in June 2021. Participants will be given an introduction to the functionalities of this tool, and see how they can make use of it for their own applications.

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Name of Organiser(s): Karen Arthur, Cesar San Miguel, and Rachel Tighe

Description: Light pollution is increasing globally by ~2% per year and is a common problem near turtle nesting beaches. Artificial light can disrupt critical behaviours in sea turtles. Nesting female turtles may avoid artificially lit beaches and hatchling turtles may not be able to find the ocean when coastal areas are artificially lit at night, making them more vulnerable to predation. Recent studies have demonstrated that hatchlings in the water are attracted to light, which may delay their dispersal to the open ocean or trap them in light pools increasing their risk of predation at sea.

In 2020, Australia released the National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife including Marine Turtles, Seabirds and Migratory Shorebirds. These Guidelines were endorsed by the 132 member states of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The guidelines provide a framework for managing and assessing the impacts of light pollution for wildlife with specific advice for management for marine turtles. At the local level the Queensland Government has introduced Sea Turtle Sensitive Areas into local planning schemes and the new Model Lighting Ordinance provides protection for turtles nesting in Florida.

The virtual Light Pollution Solutions for Sea Turtles workshop will explore practical on ground solutions to managing the impacts of artificial light for sea turtle. It will include presentations from researchers, engineers, lighting designers, managers, and policy makers to explore the latest research and technology to address these challenges. The workshop will also examine appropriate methods for measuring light, human behaviour change, regulation and education and outreach. Presentations will be followed by question and answer opportunities, and attendees will be able to share lessons learned from their experience of light management through breakout sessions.

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Name of Organiser(s): Alessandro Ponzo

Description: The Asia Pacific region hosts many globally significant nesting and foraging populations of six species of marine turtles and a few collaborative genetic studies have been previously successfully conducted. Access to genetics laboratories has becoming more common across the region, and more studies are incorporating genetic aspects into their projects. Given the increased accessibility to genetic laboratories, there is a need to further enhanced in-country capacity to develop and carry out genetic research studies and to facilitate region-wide studies. As such, there is also a need to standardize methods and collaboration between groups to ensure work can be compared and combined for effective analysis.

In response to these needs, in late 2020 the Asia Pacific Marine Turtle Genetic Working Group was established to bring together researchers from the region that have access to marine turtle ecological data, tissue samples or genetic laboratories, and that are interested in supporting or leading genetic studies. A series of monthly workshops and meetings have been hosted virtually since January 2021 with participants from Asia, and an upcoming series of workshops will provide a similar opportunity for researchers from the Pacific Island region.

This workshop will provide the opportunity to bring the two groups together, and allow to expand the participation to new interested researchers. Participants will be invited from countries throughout East and South Asia and the West Pacific in order to build on existing local and international collaborations and further this regional initiative.

The workshop will include a series of short presentations to provide updates on the status of the genetic work in the Region, new technologies and current collaborative projects, as well as a facilitated discussion to identify research priorities and gaps, both in sampling and analysis.

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Name of Organiser(s): Yaoting Tseng

Description:  The purpose of this workshop is to let the participants understand how to quantitatively describe sea turtle movement model through the studies of satellite monitored data and ocean surface current (OSC) data. The OSC data were obtained from the product of Ocean Surface Current Analyses Real-time (OSCAR), a NASA funded research project and global surface current database managed by Earth & Space Research (ESR). The OSCAR data are formatted in netCDF (see and valid for describing surface currents within a water depth of 15 meters, which should be appropriate for describing our species movement. Learners of this workshop will have the chance to work with the organizer through the data processing steps required for quantitatively describing the correlations between sea turtle movement and concurrent OSC field, which are both vector data types. The time-dependent correlation between an animal's instantaneous orientation and OSC vector was measured by an index developed by the organizer, which will be shown to the participants in the workshop. The monitored post-nesting hawksbill turtles were tagged with Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs) made by Wildlife Computers Inc. (Redmond, Washington, USA) and the females were released back to the sea in July-September 2016. Immediately after the releases from their nesting sites, the tagged animals were telemetrically monitored by the ARGOS satellite system.

The data processing tasks were made on Matlab and the developed Matlab scripts will be released to the participants in advance, or after the workshop. It is highly suggested that participants of this workshop can have their own Matlab environment ready during the workshop so that they can put their hands on the real data processing steps and understand if there will be any problems in their own Matlab environment.

In addition to the introduction of the program background, limitations and applicability of the proposed sea turtle movement model will be also discussed. Finally participants are welcomed to discuss their own sea turtle monitoring problems, share their own research directions and expectations and see if the organizer can also learn from the participants' experiences. Hence, the proposed workshop will finally finish from the fixed half day (4 hours) time schedule with a half-hour or one hour discussion for this particular sea turtle monitoring problem.

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Name of Organiser(s): Daniela Freggi

Description: Sea turtle rehabilitation is a challenge that more and more facilities are facing, often with a lack of sufficient resources in their region. The implementation of new medical procedures, protocols, and surgical techniques needs to be shared among rescue centers. This workshop is designed to be an opportunity for rehabilitators, veterinarians and biologists involved in sea turtle medical care to share experiences and knowledge related to medicine, rehabilitation and health issues, with the final goal to develop a virtual community where to ask for advice.

In the first part of the workshop, lectures from experienced professionals will be presented in an open forum format to allow for free-flowing discussion between lecturers and attendees. The workshop will be focused on critical care, emergency medicine, diagnostics, anesthesia and surgery, husbandry, and other topics designed for a general audience.

In the second part of the workshop, we plan to offer the chance to “Meet your Specialist”, where participants will have the opportunity to directly discuss particular individual cases with experts.

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Name of Organiser(s): Alexandre Girard

Description: This workshop is organized by RASTOMA, the Network of Sea Turtle Conservation Actors in Central Africa in partnership with WATSCON, the West African Sea Turtle Conservation Network and NAST-Net, the North African Sea Turtle Network. The workshop’s main objectives are to design a new action plan and create innovative and strategic new alliances to succeed in preserving endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats along the Atlantic coast of Africa (including Cape Verde islands) and North Africa (South Mediterranean).

Current conservation approaches are showing their limits in these regions. Numerous environmental conventions and treaties have been signed by African states and new protected areas are flourishing on paper, but conservation and resource management are undermined by corruption, poor governance, and lack of law enforcement.

The Atlantic coast of Africa hosts five species of sea turtles and the Mediterranean hosts three species all of them being classified on the IUCN Red List (from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered). Nesting of sea turtles occurs in most sandy beaches along the coast, and rocky and coral reefs hold important adult and juvenile feeding areas.

At the end of the 1990's, under the auspices of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS-Bonn), 24 countries of Africa signed in Abidjan the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa and promised commitment towards sea turtle conservation in their national waters. But twenty years later, the situation is more alarming than ever for sea turtles in this region, where they are poorly conserved, are highly exposed to high rates of by-catch by coastal fisheries, and unregulated harvesting of both nesting female and eggs by communities. Sea turtle natural habitats are facing huge pressure from plastic and oil contamination and intense coastal development.

This session aims at discussing the achievements and short-comings of the MoU concerning Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles and ignite action for change through effective partnerships.

Civil society is the current key actor of the field of sea turtle conservation in Central, West and North Africa. During the last ten years, civil society organizations (CSOs) have organized themselves into networks to implement regional coherence to their local actions and strengthen their positive impact on these migratory species whose ranges go beyond human national borders. This session will be led by three networks that aim at improving the conservation of sea turtles along the Atlantic coast of Africa: RASTOMA, the Network of Sea Turtle Conservation Actors in Central Africa, and WASTCON, the West African Sea Turtle Conservation Network and NASTNet, the North African Sea Turtle Network.

During this session, the CSOs will exchange experiences on successful conservation approaches, will share experiences about funding strategies and income generating activities to increase sustainability and community acceptance and commitment in sea turtle projects, and will open the debate with other stakeholders and the young generations to find out new strategies in tackling the tremendous challenges of coastal biodiversity and habitat preservation in Atlantic and north Africa.

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Name of Organiser(s): Ingrid Yanez

Description: More than 10 years have passed since important hawksbill nesting and foraging sites were "rediscovered" along the Eastern Pacific rim. The number of robust research and conservation programs, as well as the amount of information that has been generated since that time is truly staggering. The conservation outlook for the species is currently much more optimistic than it was only a short time ago. Numerous individuals and organizations, including the ICAPO network, have played an important role in catalyzing many of the past and current successes. During this workshop, organizations and individuals will share their efforts to research and conserve hawksbill turtles in the region. Individuals will be asked to give presentations that will include past, present and future activities, with a focus on discussing methods, results, challenges and successes. There will also be a presentation on the ICAPO network itself, with a discussion on how the network should continue to function in the future.

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Name of Organiser(s): ISTS Student Committee

Description: This workshop will focus on career advice for students and new graduates. Each the student committee develops a Workshop presenting information on how to find jobs or funding, currently available jobs, and other career advice. We will have guest speakers from a variety of fields who are qualified to offer advice on these subjects. We will also discuss time management and communication skills and other subjects to help students achieve in school.

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Regional Meetings

Regional Meetings provide an opportunity to find out more about what is happening and who is operating within your region. Each Regional Meeting has a fee of USD$5 to attend. To sign-up for a meeting, please select the specific check box for your region when you register for ISTS40. Registration for regional meetings closes on 17th March 2022.

Time Zone Planner for Regional Meetings + Workshops

Remember that if a time zone observes daylight savings, its offset from UTC will also change. To find out the UTC time zone of the location you are in, please select here (note that this tool adjusts when daylight saving occurs).