20 Nov Marine Biological Conservation Assistant
Cape Lookout National Seashore (CALO) preserves 56 miles of barrier island ecosystem in North Carolina’s southern Outer Banks. The seashore is a significant loggerhead and green sea turtle nesting beach in the northwest Atlantic Ocean nesting range. In September 2018 Hurricane Florence and then Hurricane Dorian in 2019 significantly impacted the sea turtle nesting beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore. The primary dune line was flattened by storm surge, ocean overwash moved sand from the oceanside across to the sound side, and several new inlets were formed. The island profile is now flatter. Sea turtles typically prefer a steeper sloped beach with an established dune line. Additionally, without the dunes to block ambient light glow from the mainland, there are light disorientation issues. Light disorientation of sea turtles is an important natural resource management issue at Cape Lookout National Seashore. In 2021 the specific project goals are to continue data collection to determine if the altered beach profiles change the sea turtle nesting density and to monitor for increased light disorientation.
The purpose of two Biological intern positions is to perform routine and uncomplicated biological science tasks common to natural resource management for sea turtle monitoring at Cape Lookout National Seashore. The barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore are undeveloped and semi-remote where natural processes such as ocean overwash and inlet formation are allowed to function. The interns perform primarily routine functions with monitoring sea turtle nestings, such as early morning patrols to locate nests and false crawl activities. The interns will collect and organize field data and ensures adequate quality control of data collected. The interns will perform a collection of biological samples and records all data collected and provides preliminary assessment and classification of the information. The interns may install, operate, and maintain resource management equipment (e.g., tools, traps, fencing, and posts). The interns will use GPS units, ArcGIS Online, and manage an online database. The interns will learn barrier island ecology and barrier island geological processes. The desired outcome for the internship is to develop independent, self-motivated, task orientated, safety-minded interns who significantly contribute to the natural resource program.