Çanakkale, Tutkey – Experts conducting research in the Sea of Marmara have identified a nest belonging to Caretta caretta, which is usually seen in Turkey between the coast of Muğla and Hatay in the Mediterranean, and 32 cubs that emerge from their eggs in it. Director of COMU Sea Turtle Research and Application Center Prof. Dr. Şükran Yalçın Özdilek “So far, no such Nest has been seen in the north of Izmir, in the northern Aegean and in Marmara,” said . We don’t have any nest records in the area. It is very important that the nest is seen for the first time in the Marmara region. As a matter of fact, it is very important not only for our country, but also for the entire scientific world, to have a nest in this far north for the entire Mediterranean,” he said.
Scientists at the Sea Turtle Research and Application Center (DEKUM) of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) found a caretta caretta nest with 50 eggs on the coast of the Eceabat district, located on the borders of the historical Gallipoli peninsula.
Director of DEKUM Prof. Dr. Şükran Yalçın Özdilek said that finding a Caretta caretta nest in Marmara is a very important development.
Describing the Caretta carettas as intelligent animals that have existed for 65 million years, Özdilek said, “Caretta caretta nests are found in a region that starts from Muğla and extends to Hatay. There are nesting areas in the Mediterranean. It was seen on some beaches of, for example in Kuşadası and around Urla last year, but so far no such nest has been seen in the north of İzmir, North Aegean and Marmara.” she said.
Ozdilek said they came across the nest on the beach of a hotel in Eceabat, in a sandy area south of the Gulf of Saros.
Ozdilek, who stated that this exciting discovery was a surprise for them, said: “We have been predicting the possibility that there may be a nest here for many years. As DEKUM, we have been carrying out important work on this issue for 10 years. We’ve never come across a nest like this, including our expeditions. This situation made us very happy. Now we have such a record from our region.,” she said.
Ozdilek recalled that in recent years, policies for the protection of sea turtles have been developed. Because it is a protected species, the number of Caretta caretta may have increased, Ozdilek said:
“In very ancient history, in books written in 1918, it is said that they saw turtles in flocks when ships passed near Gallipoli, but they were not described as sea turtles, but as land turtles. Frankly, you wonder why there are turtles in such flocks. It may have been used as a nesting site in the past. Of course, we don’t know that right now. It is very important that the nest is seen for the first time in the Marmara region. In fact, it is very important not only for our country, but also for the entire scientific world, to have a home so far north of the Mediterranean. We are constantly talking about global climate change and warming of the waters. These can be multifaceted reasons. All of them will be scientifically examined. We have opened our eyes, and we will monitor the events that follow in detail.”
Selma Kirbeci, who is continuing her master’s degree in Biology at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of COMU, reported that she is studying the nutrition of sea turtles.
When they completed the conservation and monitoring work in Hatay, they thought they had closed the season, emphasizing that they had very special moments with this discovery, she said:
“When we checked the nest, we found that there were 50 eggs. We came out of them and released 32 surviving cubs into the sea. It’s so amazing. Because as of mid-and late August, turtles nest very rarely, but for Caretta caretta, this is a little more extreme for us. We estimate that the female laid her eggs on August 15-20. It’s also very unlikely that the nests will come out when we think October will be colder. When we look at the number of eggs, the nest we found is now 70 percent successful. This is a very good situation for Çanakkale and our center.”