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Swim into Sea Turtle Week

June 17, 2024

Sea turtles are a key part of marine ecosystems worldwide but face many threats today. NOAA works to protect and conserve six sea turtle species found in U.S. waters. All are threatened or endangered.

Illustrated swimming sea turtles on banner for Sea Turtle Week

Sea Turtle Week is June 17–21, 2024. Swimming in Earth’s oceans for hundreds of millions of years, sea turtles lead incredible lives and survive for many decades at sea. They can travel thousands of miles in search of food, eventually returning to the beaches where they were born to nest.

As key parts of marine ecosystems worldwide, sea turtles face many threats today. Six sea turtle species are found in U.S. waters and all are threatened or endangered. During Sea Turtle Week, we're highlighting these marine reptiles and our work to conserve them.

Take a dive into our sea turtle features and videos below. Follow us on social media to see how NOAA conserves and protects sea turtle populations and how you can help, too.

Sea Turtle Features

Meet Josefa Muñoz, Ph.D. Student

From volunteer to NOAA Fisheries-funded graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi, learn more about Josefa Muñoz’s sea turtle journey.

More about Josefa Muñoz

a group photo of 2022 Guam Sea Turtle Research Internship
Josefa Muñoz (top row, fourth from left) and her interns on their first day of in-field training for the 2022 Guam Sea Turtle Research Internship. Credit: Jazmin Samonte.

Meet Alphina Liusamoa, Sea Turtle Biologist in American Samoa

Alphina is a wildlife biologist for the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources. Learn about her background and her journey to studying and conserving sea turtles.

More about Alphina Liusamoa

phinah on the beach doing research
Alphina Liusamoa at Rose Atoll attempting to encourage the frigate bird to land on the rake. Credit: Brain Peck

In Memoriam: Wendy Teas

NOAA Fisheries and the larger sea turtle community has lost Wendy G. Teas who passed away this April after a quiet battle to cancer. 

For nearly three decades, Wendy served as NOAA Fisheries’ coordinator for the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. The Network provides essential information for conservation and management of sea turtles by documenting strandings along the coast from Maine to Texas and in portions of the U.S. Caribbean.

Wendy participated in many sea turtle research projects at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. She also jumped at the chance to work with other species including marine mammals, seabirds, and—on her personal time—even crocodiles. She mentored students and others early in their career and coworkers confided in her.

Wendy was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and a longtime resident of Miami, Florida. She held a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Northland College in Wisconsin. She was a nature lover with a lifelong passion for conserving sea turtles and other wildlife. She will be remembered for her dedication to the Network, her caring and kindhearted nature, looking out for those in need, and her willingness to lend a helping hand to others. Her close friends will remember her incredible generosity and thoughtfulness. Wendy left an indelible mark on our collective mission to conserve sea turtles.

In honor of Wendy, please consider doing a "random act of kindness." May she rest in peace.

White woman stands in ankle deep water holding a Kemp's ridley sea turtle with both hands. Rocks, tall grass, and a few pavilions in the background.
Wendy Teas releasing a Kemp's ridley sea turtle. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Meet Joseph Pfaller, Sea Turtle Branch Chief

As part of the Faces of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center series, meet Dr. Joseph Pfaller. Dr. Pfaller enjoys conducting research that helps reveal the biological mysteries of sea turtles that, in turn, help guide conservation and management actions. 

More about Dr. Joseph Pfaller

A man kneeling on a beach next to a large loggerhead sea turtle.
Dr. Joe Pfaller with a female loggerhead turtle (with a sand mustache) after a long night on the nesting beach conducting permitted activities with Caretta Research Project. Photo provided by Joe Pfaller.

Podcast: Tackling Sea Turtle Bycatch with International Fishing Communities

An international program is helping fishers in the Pacific coast of Mexico to reduce bycatch of protected sea turtles.

Listen to the podcast

A loggerhead turtle swims through bright blue water. The surface is barely visible at the top of the frame.
A loggerhead sea turtle swimming in a deep blue open ocean. Credit: Adobe Stock

Massachusetts Cold-stunned Sea Turtles: A Sign of Climate Change?

The number of cold-stunned turtles on Cape Cod is increasing, likely in part due to climate change. We are adapting our response and planning for the future to accommodate increasing numbers.

Rescuing cold-stunned sea turtles on Cape Cod

A responder rescues a cold-stunned sea turtle from a Cape Cod beach.
A responder rescues a cold-stunned sea turtle from a Cape Cod beach. Photo courtesy of Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay.

Recent Grants Supporting Sea Turtle Conservation

Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network partners leverage National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grants to improve their sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation efforts across the country.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Sea Turtle Program Grant Recipients 

A turtle with a tracker installed
The Aquarium of the Pacific released a green sea turtle in May 2024 after months of care and rehabilitation at its facility. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific, taken under Fish and Wildlife Service Permit #: FWS/R8/ES/SeaTurtle/DesignatedAgentLetter 5/3/24.

Eyes in the Sky: Using Drones to Measure Sea Turtles

What do drones and toy turtles have in common? Scientists are using these tools to measure sea turtles in the wild without ever touching them.

Learn about drones, sea turtles, photogrammetry, and more

An aerial photograph showing a boat and 3 small toy turtles circled in red in the water.
These toy sea turtles, circled in red, were photographed using a drone flying at 128 feet altitude. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Sea Turtle Week 2024: Partners in Conservation

A message from Kim Damon-Randall, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, for Sea Turtle Week, June 17–21.

Read Kim Damon-Randall's leadership message

Green sea turtle foraging in the shallow waters off Kona, Hawai‘I Island.
A green sea turtle swims in the waters off O’ahu, Hawaii. These turtles are herbivores, eating mostly seagrasses and algae. This diet gives their fat a greenish color (not their shells), which is where their name comes from. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Ali Bayless

Meet Mitchell Rider, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Mitchell is a Postdoctoral Research Associate studying sea turtle movement ecology at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Learn more about his background, research, and advice for someone looking to become a sea turtle biologist.

Meet Mitchell Rider

A young man squats next to a large dog on a trail.
Dr. Mitch Rider on a hike with his German shorthaired pointer pal, Louis. Photo courtesy of Mitch Rider

NOAA Enforcement Helps Protect Sea Turtles

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement partners with federal and state enforcement agencies to protect sea turtles in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Protecting sea turtles in the Florida Keys

Two men in vests and khakis stand on a commercial fishing boat with nets at their feet. They are inspecting a net hanging between them.
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers measuring a turtle excluder device on a commercial shrimp vessel. Credit, NOAA Fisheries

Where the Leatherbacks Roam

Scientists find evidence of critical feeding grounds for endangered leatherback turtles along the U.S. Atlantic coast by studying movement behavior with satellite tags.

Learn more about this leatherback sea turtle research

A team of four scientists in personal floatation devices on a boat handle a very large leatherback sea turtle for tagging
The tagging team, Emily Christiansen, Samir Patel, Mike Judge, and Chris Sasso handling a leatherback sea turtle to be tagged. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Heather Haas (Permit #21233)

Green Turtle Conservation Successes and Continuing Challenges

A look at successes and challenges faced by different green turtle populations.

Green turtle conservation

Sea turtle swims above sea grass
Juvenile green turtle swimming over a bed of seagrass. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey


Video: Decoding the Mystery of Turtle Genomes

Researchers examined the genetic differences between green and leatherback sea turtles to see which species might be more resilient to climate change.

Decoding the mystery of turtle genomes

Video: Tagging Leatherback Turtles

Scientists tag leatherback sea turtles to learn where they are and how they use the water so we can better protect them from bycatch and other threats.

Tagging leatherback turtles

7 Sea Turtle Facts for the Ocean Lover

Sea turtles are fascinating creatures. Learn some facts about these much-loved marine reptiles. 

Check out sea turtle facts

Last updated by Office of Communications on June 21, 2024

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