Workshops + Regional Meetings

Workshop + Meeting Schedule

The first three days of ISTS41 (18th - 20th March) are dedicated to Workshops and Regional/Special Meetings.

Workshops

There are twelve Workshops for ISTS41 and more details are provided below. You can sign up for a Workshop via the ISTS41 registration site. Please note that you can register for a workshop during your initial registration for ISTS41 or separately, anytime after your initial registration.

Name of Organiser(s): Ann Marie Lauritsen Track: Conservation Duration: Full Day

Description: A full-day Workshop featuring conservationists with success stories in Combating Sea Turtle Trafficking in South and Central America. We will then have a facilitated, invite-only round table discussion for participants of the workshop to discuss current issues and gaps in addressing sea turtle wildlife trafficking. We will have invited behavioral scientists to bring in design thinking approaches to tackle some of the most challenging issues we face in addressing wildlife trafficking. Finally, the Inter-American Convention (IAC) for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles will hold a closed session to discuss recommendations for the members of the IAC.

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Name of Organiser(s): ALan Rees Track: Monitoring Duration: Half Day

Description: The four-hour session is intended to bring together sea turtle researchers that are experienced, novice, and just interested in using UAVs or drones. The primary aims are to continue dialogue on the best use of UAVs for sea turtle studies and catalyse a network where technical advances and method development are shared. The session would be divided into two interactive parts, where the attendees are encouraged to ask questions to the presenters and the group at large.

  1. Brief introduction to UAVs and technology a. Types of UAV, their general properties b. Data capture and processing options c. Review of current level of relevant peer-reviewed literature
  2. Examples of UAV use a. General outline of basic research topics b. (hopefully) Brief demonstrations on some of the popular software used to control UAVs and process data c. Brief presentations of UAV research undertaken by workshop participants.
The workshop is envisaged to be repeated and developed over successive years/symposia so that the international sea turtle community are kept up-to-date with advances in UAV-based research and ‘recruits’ to the field have the opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners firsthand.

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Name of Organiser(s): Daniella Freggi

Track: Medicine

Duration: Half Day

Description: The proposal of this workshop emerges from the evidence of the numerous sea turtle rescue centres developed in the last decade, sometimes facing emergencies with no available support of expertise. The lack of information may cause a waste of energy and economical resources, uncertain results, and more important: pain for animals.

This workshop is addressed to people directly involved in sea turtle rehabilitation and care, offering the opportunity to share rehab and medical skills, knowledge, experiences and standard operating procedures. We propose to compare expertise on diagnostics, husbandry, critical care, lesions, anaesthesia and surgery, with the aim to develop an open discussion among participants.

We hope to better update the role of sea turtle rescue centres in the conservation efforts, a functional network among them and their future perspectives. We hope the realization of a common agreement that may support the standardization of common protocols and medical administration, with a particular attention to high quality procedures for the care and convalescence of sea turtles. Everyone is invited to be an integral part of the debate.

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Name of Organiser(s): Michel Anthony Nalovic & Juan Manuel Rguez-Baron

Track: Conservation

Duration: Full Day

Description: Injurious interactions between fishing activities and marine turtles is a theme that concerns conservation (and fisher) communities around the world. As such, ISTS continues to promote the idea that fostering change amongst fishers regarding bycatch and its causal factors is a critical component in achieving sustainable development. Special sessions that address the challenges and best practices of developing working relationships with fishers to address bycatch where held during ISTS New Orleans, USA (2014) and ISTS Lima, Peru (2016). During these sessions, specific attention was given to bycatch issues of immediate importance to the host region (TEDs in US shrimp fisheries; bycatch reduction in Peruvian artisan gillnet fisheries).

Seeing that this year’s ISTS annual meeting is in Caragena, we want to seize the opportunity to host a bycatch session that will bring together fishers and scientists working on bycatch with Caribbean conservationists seeking a deeper understanding of how to reduce bycatch in their local communities. We will encourage all participants, and especially those working in Colombia, to invite fishers who are open to sharing their experience with bycatch and working with scientists/conservationists. During the session we will identify the challenges faced by stakeholders and update participants on recent developments in bycatch knowledge and technologies, both developed in the Wider Caribbean and elsewhere in the world. Case studies with very practical results will be featured; e.g., how bycatch issues were identified/quantified/prioritized, how responses were developed/implemented/ evaluated, and what tools can be shared in order to replicate success elsewhere. We will explore bycatch mitigation techniques (gear and human dimensions) that are most likely to be successful in the Wider Caribbean region. Finally, the highlight of this session will be a panel composed of fishers who will present their ideas as to how scientists/conservationists could better approach fishers to get things moving in the right direction.

The overarching goal of the workshop is to give participants a deeper understanding on how we can better foster voluntary behavior changes by fishers in favor of saving turtles, and how conservationists can most effectively support the process.

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Name of Organiser(s): Roderic Mast, Rachel Smith, Brian Hutchinson, and Ashleigh Bandimere

Track: Education

Duration: Half Day

Description: Team BEACH (BE A CHangemaker) is an initiative started by the State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Program at Oceanic Society and Disney Conservation with the support of AZA-SAFE that aims to encourage human behavior change campaigns and education programs that will result in successful conservation of sea turtles and their habitats. Since its creation in 2018, Team Beach has built a network of projects from around the world that have worked together, shared ideas and resources, and hosted several educational webinars. While many sea turtle conservation organizations implement outreach programs in their communities, not all of them are designed with tangible behavior change goals and evaluation plans. The goal of Team BEACH is to create a network of sea turtle conservationists and behavior change experts who can share case studies, best practices, instructional materials, and stories so that outreach efforts drive behavior change for sea turtle conservation. Prior to ISTS, we will request that members of the Team BEACH network submit real-world conservation issues in their communities that they feel could be addressed through a targeted behavior change campaign. After an introductory presentation in which we discuss how to create a successful outreach campaign and associated evaluation, we will ask workshop participants to form small groups and brainstorm effective behavior change programs for each of the case studies. We will then ask them to present these solutions back to the larger group and facilitate open discussions about each solution with the group. By the end of the workshop, participants will have learned about tools from behavior change specialists and will have applied those tools to real-life scenarios that sea turtle conservation professionals are facing. They may even create strategies that could be developed and implemented by Team BEACH members.

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Name of Organiser(s): Matthew Lettrich

Track: Conservation

Duration: Half Day

Description: Climate change exposure is multi-faceted (changes in sea and air temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, among others) and is realized across a spectrum of spatial and temporal scales. The direct effects of climate change on sea turtles have drawn the focus of recent research and represent a growing area of study. The effects of non-climate threats on sea turtles have received much attention historically, though coverage has been patchy across regions and species, and new threats continue to emerge. The effect of climate change on other stressors, and the downstream/cascading effect on sea turtles has received considerably less attention but will be an important component of conservation planning in a rapidly changing world.

Understanding how direct and indirect stressors that impact sea turtles may change at different spatial and temporal scales will be necessary to craft effective conservation strategies and will be an integral piece of the management response to climate change.

This workshop builds on the momentum and success from 2022’s “Understanding and quantifying cumulative and synergetic stressors to sea turtles” workshop and focuses on the cascading effects of climate change on other sea turtle stressors. The workshop will include introductory presentations related to climate change and sea turtle threats followed by interactive breakout sessions that use participatory assessment approaches in which the participants will use their own expertise to explore and characterize the interactions between climate change and the threats identified in the 2022 workshop.

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Name of Organiser(s): Blair Bentley, Camila Mazzoni, and Lisa Komoroske

Track: Science

Duration: Half Day

Description: Recent advances in sequencing technologies have facilitated the assembly and annotation of high-quality reference genomes for a number of sea turtle species. While reference genomes provide invaluable resources for studies into sea turtle conservation, ecology, morphology, and physiology (among others), their use uptake is hindered by gaps in understanding of how to effectively apply them. In this workshop, we will briefly introduce the process of genome assembly, followed by a primary focus on demonstrations of how they can be used to answer research questions in the context of sea turtles. The workshop will include presentations from participants that are currently utilizing reference genomes in their research, as well as presentations outlining more specific technical aspects of their use.

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Name of Organiser(s): Renato Saragoca Bruno, Matthew Ramirez, and Gabriela Arango

Track: Early Career

Duration: Half Day

Description: Each year, the student committee develops a Workshop presenting information on how to find jobs or funding, current 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 the key skills that you need at each of those jobs and resources to begin preparing for them. More specifically, this workshop will focus on the wide breadth of sea turtle-related career paths and advice for students and new graduates to succeed in each one. This will range from governmental jobs, academia, nonprofit and for-profit careers.

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Name of Organiser(s): ProOcean Marine Research Conservation and Innovation & Archie Center for Sea Turtle Research

Track: Monitoring

Duration: Half Day

Description: Much of what we know about the ecology and biology of sea turtles is based on nesting females, and to a lesser extent on juveniles in foraging and developmental habitats. These studies have sought mainly to understand natal homing, nest site fidelity, migratory movements, nesting trends, somatic growth rates, survival rates, and population structure. Comparatively little effort has been invested in understanding male sea turtle ecology, and even less has focused on the management and conservation of male turtles. Unlike females, males only rarely come ashore and the difficulties posed by capturing males at sea have made locating their feeding, courtship, and mating areas a challenge. Studying male sea turtles in foraging and mating areas across the globe is vital to better understand male habits, reproductive strategies, operational sex ratios, population dynamics, and habitat needs. After the successful workshop held in Charleston in 2019 focused on male sea turtles, where more than 60 researchers from around the world participated, now is the time to continue promoting interest in including male sea turtles in research and conservation efforts. Therefore, we propose to meet in a workshop to learn about current research and conservation efforts and how we can establish collaborations and synergies to make these efforts effective.

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Name of Organiser(s): Daniel González-Paredes. Co-organizers: Alejandro Fallabrino, Andrés Estrades, Mark Hamann, Brendan Godley, and Emily Duncan

Track: Science/Conservation

Duration: Half Day

Description: Plastic pollution represents an emerging threat to marine turtles, affecting vital processes across their life cycle and key habitats. Understanding the impacts caused by plastic pollution on marine turtles is central for assessing their vulnerability to this threat. The main objectives for the 4th Workshop on Marine Debris and Sea Turtles are:

  1. Assess the current background and identify gaps in research and conservation efforts addressing the plastic pollution issue.
  2. Discuss standard procedures and reporting metrics for broader and comparable studies.
  3. Provide guidelines for assessing plastic pollution impacts according to resource accessibility.
  4. Propose a common framework for the evaluation of plastic pollution threat at regional and global scales.

This event is designed as a dynamic meeting where experts and attendees will analyze and discuss, through discussion groups, topics regarding plastic pollution. The event is aimed at any scientists, researchers or/and organizations who are interested in the subject of plastic pollution and its effects on marine turtles (no previous background needed).

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Name of Organiser(s): Liliana Poggio Colman and Ana Rita Patrício

Track: Monitoring

Duration: Half Day

Description: Major nesting colonies (e.g. those with >10000 nests per year) play a pivotal role in driving marine turtle population dynamics and are often used as indicator sites for assessing the regional and global conservation status of these species. However, high densities of nesting females and/or large geographic areas mean that such populations are often logistically difficult to monitor using conventional nest counts or mark-recapture. Given that monitoring often competes for limited resources with management activities that contribute to species recovery, efficient approaches for
estimating nester abundance and trends at these sites are urgently needed.

This workshop aims to bring together expertise to reflect on the specific challenges associated with monitoring large marine turtle nesting aggregations and discuss how emerging, labour-saving technologies could help (or not) to address them. The intended audience are managers and researchers involved in the monitoring of nesting populations where traditional nest counting or mark-recapture is proving to be difficult, or in places where population growth will likely render current monitoring approaches impractical in future.

Using selected case studies, speakers working on large nesting populations will first set the scene by outlining current monitoring solutions and challenges. Participants will then be invited to share experiences of using technology to monitor marine turtle nesting numbers in the field (e.g. drones, remote sensing, thermal imaging cameras) and reflect on the cost, scalability and reliability of these approaches compared to more conventional methods. Finally, we will consider what technologies might be around the corner that could transform the way in which large marine turtle populations are monitored in the near future.

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Name of Organiser(s): Amalia María Cano-Castaño, Anjelika Solé Abdo Abou Issa, Antonio Trujillo, Diana del Pilar Ramírez Acosta, and Georgina Zamora

Track: Education

Duration: Full Day

Description: Environmental Education (EE) is one of the most powerful tools in the conservationist’s toolbox, although it is regularly misunderstood and undervalued. It is essential to clarify and strengthen the understanding and reach of EE – a widely used concept since the world’s first Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education, in 1977, organized by UNESCO/UNEP in Tblisi, Georgia (USSR). In specifically promoting community development –at all levels– as well as the efficient employment of all appropriate technologies, EE is directly relevant to all sectors of
society, from marginalized producers to elite consumers and corporate exploitative activities. Countries such as Brazil and Colombia have incorporated EE into national and state legislation, including marine turtle protection programs.

Regularly turtle conservation programs, integrated with EE activities, are carried out with very limited resources, in challenging conditions for  communication; hence, it is essential that EE practitioners make the fullest, most efficient use of available technologies to facilitate and enhance communications, from local to international levels.

This workshop, with a maximum or 40 participants, will strengthen the understanding and reach of EE, through discussion, familiarization, and practice of common communication technologies. Furthermore, the workshop promotes the realization that “technology” can include the most recent digital apparatus to Pleistocene stone axes, any of which can be relevant to conservation of marine turtles and their habitats.

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Regional Meetings/Reunions

Regional Meetings/Reunions provide an opportunity to find out more about what is happening and who is operating within your region. At ISTS41 there will be the following meetings/reunions:

  • Oceania/Pacific Islands Regional Meeting
  • RETOMALA (Reunión de Especialistas sobre Tortugas Marinas en Latinoamérica)
  • Africa Regional Meeting
  • Mediterranean Reunion
  • Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) Regional Meeting 

If you would like to attend a Regional Meeting/Reunion then please select the specific check box for your region when you register for ISTS41.

Special Meeting (registration open to Laúd OPO Network members only)

The Eastern Pacific Leatherback Network (Red Laúd OPO in Spanish) unites more than 100 members from 12 countries in the Americas working collaboratively for the conservation of the critically endangered leatherback turtle. This workshop will allow members to share experiences and news from their conservation activities, learn from other members, explore collaborations, and plan future activities to be undertaken by the Network. We will also be unveiling the new regional action plan for the Network, which will stimulate much discussion and new ideas about how to turn the plan into action. As with everyone, it will have been more than three years since we were able to meet in-person, and the ISTS is in Latin America, so will be a fantastic forum to come together as a network, and strengthen our collaborative conservation activities in the region.