Kuredu Marine Center
Learn more about life in the ocean
The Marine Center at Kuredu is a must-visit place for guests who are inquisitive about life in the ocean! Sea Turtle Biologist and Guest Educator Kristina, who joined the team in November 2018, is ready to share her knowledge so come along and find out more! From an early age, Kristina dreamed of the ocean and of being a Marine Biologist and before joining the Olive Ridley Project she worked in South Africa with white sharks, humpback whales, cape fur seals and southern right whales.
The Marine Center and the work undertaken there is a great asset to Kuredu and to life on the reefs of the Lhaviyani Atoll. Kristina’s work at the Marine Center comprises of three main parts, detailed below. To find out more about Kristina’s work please send her an email or, for guests currently on Kuredu – pay her a visit at the Marine Center, a very warm welcome awaits.
Monitoring the population of sea turtles
In the Lhaviyani Atoll we have already identified over 400 sea turtles. The majority of these turtles, however, can be found at THE turtle hotspot in the Maldives – Kuredu, where you can meet one of 219 sea turtles, many of which are residents to the island. The Olive Ridley Project collects data on the local turtles to learn more about the population here in the Maldives. Our very own ORP sea turtle biologist, based at Kuredu, is doing that by using photo identification method. This is a non-invasive method where turtles can be identified by pictures of their right and left cheek. The pattern of scales acts as a fingerprint!
Through identification of the sea turtles, Kristina can monitor their population in the Lhaviyani Atoll and she manages the atoll database for gathering the information. The data collected is then fed into a National Database of the Maldives where several Marine Biologists use the information to help build a picture about the Maldives Sea Turtle population as a whole.
Kristina uses photos of the right and left sides of the sea turtles’ face to identify them – the number and shape of the scale arrangement in this area is unique – it’s painstaking work but it allows her to see if this is a previously sighted turtle or one that is new to the area.
Guests can get actively involved in the Marine Center’s work by sending good photos with clear side views of the sea turtle’s face to Kristina using the button below. Kristina will let guests know if the turtle is already known to the database, or if it is new to science! If it is new, the guest has the opportunity to adopt and name the turtle.
Monitoring the nestings and hatchings of sea turtles
We are lucky to say that Kuredu is a frequented nesting site for green sea turtles. Whenever this magical phenomenon takes place Kristina is not far away. She monitors the nesting of the female which can take place very late at night and can take up to 3 hours. About two months later another magical phenomenon occurs – the hatching of up to 130 baby turtles. Kristina’s job is to ensure that every hatchling makes it to the ocean where they spread out to swim into the vastness of the open ocean. But the work doesn’t stop here – two days after the hatching, Kristina will excavate the nest to count the hatched eggs, underdeveloped eggs or unfertilized eggs. The recorded data helps to understand the hatching success. In Kuredu 95% of the babies successfully make it out of the nest and into the ocean – where they play the most important part for the survival of the local population. If you are lucky you might be able to help Kristina with one of the excavations.
There is no definite season for nestings occurring and further research is necessary to understand the cycle.
Monitoring the occurrence of ghost nets
Ghost nets are discarded or lost nets that float in the ocean, trapping marine life on their deadly and aimless drift. Often called the ‘silent killers’ of the oceans they pose a major threat to animals – entangling and killing them. Whenever they are found, Kristina records where they were found, what they look like and what kind of animals became entangled. The information gathered can help to figure out where the net came from and the Olive Ridley Project tries to take action to reduce the number by removal, reuse, education and community outreach programs.
When entangled sea turtles are found, still alive, if they are healthy they are released, or taken to Baa Atoll for medical treatment and rehabilitation as required.