In 2016, the University of Central Florida and the US Fish and Wildlife Service entered into a Memorandum of Agreement granting UCF and the Biology Department’s Marine Turtle Research Group use of the Caretta House for coastal sea turtle research activities. Located 70 miles from UCF’s main campus in Orlando, on the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR) in Melbourne Beach, Florida, the Caretta House serves as the Marine Turtle Research Group’s sea turtle field station. The Caretta House serves as the MTRG’s home base from which approximately 29 miles of nesting beach are monitored daily or nightly during the summer sea turtle nesting season, including the northernmost 13 miles of the ACNWR. Juvenile sea turtles are monitored semi-monthly in the Indian River Lagoon within the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.
This Caretta House supports undergraduate interns and graduate student research and helps the MTRG host visiting scientists, school groups, and visitors interested in collaborative research, hands-on field-based training, and educational outreach. For an overview of the research conducted by the UCF MTRG and its students, please see our laboratory webpage for more details.