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Try It Part 2

In the following activities, you will continue to uncover the central idea of the whole article by reading the next two sections in order to synthesize the most important evidence.

Continue reading paragraphs 5 - 14 in "Florida finds favor with sea turtles; more are nesting on state beaches."opens in new window

Tantalizing Turtle Trends

5 Named for the color of their fatty tissue, green turtles go about nesting in a peculiar way. Scientists expected their nest counts to go up and down every other year.

6 Llewellyn Ehrhart is a professor who developed new ways of studying turtles at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Their varying nest counts are one of the great puzzles in sea-turtle biology, he said. The difference in numbers could have something to do with the quantity and quality of food that is available. "But I don’t know of anything in ocean biology that is so regularly scheduled high, low, high, low, year in and year out,” he added.

7 The turtle kings of Florida’s coastline are the loggerheads, so named for their huge heads poking out of their 3 1/2-foot shells. Female loggerheads deposited eggs in 46,885 nests this year.

8 That count was from the state’s “index” locations at 26 beaches.

Long Lives, Complex Biology

9 Index counts are done during a 109-day window, which means the counts from the period may be smaller than the annual totals. The index data, however, are valuable in detecting trends.

10 “Every year, it’s always a little bit of a surprise for what we get,” said Anne Meylan, a scientist at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “The biology of the animals is really complicated, and they live a long time, and they are affected by things far away.”

11 Since 2010, loggerhead nest counts at the index sites have improved. The count in 1998 of 59,918 plunged to 28,074 nests by 2007. By 2012, the nest count was back up to 58,172.

12 “We don’t know why they went down, and we don’t know why they are coming back,” Meylan said. “That makes us a little bit more cautious.”

13 Scientists want to discover whether sea turtles were killed in greater numbers through the early 2000s by commercial fishing. By the late 2000s, commercial fishing took up measures to reduce turtle deaths.

14 Many scientists doubt the evidence supports that commercial fishing theory, but there is much agreement that the spike in loggerhead deaths was caused by problems or threats far from Florida.

- Newselaopens in new window, November 5, 2014