logo Life Turtle Nest  life natura2000 

Project acronym and number


Project duration

9th January 2023 – 8th April 2028

Project Area

Italy, France, Spain

Project website


Project summary

Loggerhead turtles are expanding their nesting range into the Western Mediterranean, where beaches are becoming suitable through climate warming. However, the emerging nesting sites are threatened by coastal development and high tourist pressure. LIFE TURTLENEST, co-financed by the European Union’s LIFE programme and coordinated by Legambiente, unites Italy, Spain and France to mitigate these threats through knowledge based conservation measures with the aim to protect new nesting habitats and foster successful sea turtle reproduction.
Through a multi-disciplinary approach LIFE TURTLENEST will improve the conservation status of Caretta caretta*, a priority species of the Habitats Directive, aided byImmagine 1 hatchling

- the establishment of an international network,
- the use of shared best-practice procedures specifically revised to mitigate the threats on emerging nesting sites,
- the capacity building of trained field operators,
- the identification of new index sites for monitoring, and
- the strengthening of the Natura 2000 network.

The intention is to consolidate these outcomes to sustain the conservation of sea turtle nesting in the Western Mediterranean after the end of the project. Another important part of the actions is dedicated to multiscale awareness campaigns for citizens and stakeholders that use the beaches to achieve an increase in the knowledge of the presence of turtle nests and the social consensus towards policies for the protection of turtle nesting habitats. Engagement and training programmes, especially tailored to educate and engage beach operators and volunteers will increase the detection rate of sea turtle nests that can be adequately protected.

To aid informed conservation, LIFE TURTLENEST will employ

- nex-gen genomic techniques,
- state-of-the- art satellite telemetry and
- stable isotope analysis

to fill knowledge gaps in the origin of turtles, key demographic parameters and habitat connectivity. Finally, a specifically developed habitat suitability model will be a tool to guide proactive conservation management of new nest sites under current and future climatic scenarios.

SZN role

SZN is the scientific manager of the LIFE TURTLENEST project and thus responsible for the correct execution and monitoring of the conservation actions. The SZN Marine Turtle Research Group of the Department of Marine Animal Conservation and Public Engagement, has been studying turtles for over 20 yrs aiming to shed light on still cryptic aspects of sea turtle biology to foster informed conservation management. Since 2002, the year in which the first loggerhead turtle nest was found in the Campania Region, the MTRG has been monitoring all nesting events in the region which now hosts >50 nests per year, constituting 35% of all new emerging nests sites in the Western Mediterranean.

In particular, SZN is lead partner of these specific conservation actions:

- Beach patrolling of most used/high suitability areas to identify loggerhead turtle nests
- Nest and hatchling monitoring and protection
- Ex situ conservation interventions. Loggerhead turtle nursery and yearling tracking
- Pilot interventions to reduce anthropic impacts at new regular nesting sites

Immagine 2 cartina turtlenest 2023Partner List

  • Legambiente Onlus (IT)
  • Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (IT)
  • ISPRA (IT)
  • Università di Roma La Sapienza (IT)
  • Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana (IT)
  • Regione Campania (IT)
  • Regione Lazio (IT)
  • Regione Basilicata (IT)
  • Regione Puglia (IT)
  • Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Toscana (IT)
  • Universitat de Barcelona (ES)
  • Fundació Universitària Balmes (ES)
  • Cestmed (FR)

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