Workshops + Meetings


The first two days of ISTS42 (24th - 25th March) are dedicated to Workshops and Regional Meetings/Reunions.

Workshop/Meeting Room Allocations


All Workshops at ISTS42 will be held on Sunday 24th March 2024. See below for details of each Workshop.

Please note: Registration for workshops will open after the abstract outcomes/travel grant notification on 22nd January 2024 so that all registrant have an equal opportunity to sign up for a workshop. Signing up for a workshop can be done separately from your initial registration.

Full-Day Workshops

Date: Sunday 24th March (Full Day)

Description: Within sea turtle conservation there is a need for cost effective population monitoring; evaluating how sea turtles are using the environment, how sea turtle populations are developing and to evaluate the impact of turtle conservation measures. Photo identification provides a non-invasive method, which is easily learnt and applied to sea turtles in all habitats.

This workshop will provide an introduction to the basics of photo identification. Secondly, the potential applications and uses such as behaviour monitoring, disease progression, population studies will be demonstrated. We will identify and discuss the challenges and limitations of photo ID, such as image quality, the storage and management of raw data and the time required to complete data processing. The organisers together with the audience will evaluate this method in comparison to traditional tagging techniques and to establish if the audiences perceptions and attitudes towards photo ID as a tool to monitor sea turtles changes throughout the workshop.

Lastly, existing and developing technical solutions for these challenges will be presented by specialists. Easy to handle data management platforms will be introduced and discussed, with a specific focus on facilitating wider participation for people from all training backgrounds to allow for community contribution to sea turtlescience and conservation efforts.

Download Workshop Proposal

Date: Sunday 24th March (Full Day)

Description: The GIS workshop will introduce participants to best practices in data management, visualization, and analysis. Given their long migrations, cryptic life stages, and broad global distribution, GIS is a critical tool in understanding sea turtle ecology and communicating results. Multiple data types and techniques will be covered. Examples include geostatistics, satellite telemetry movement modeling, managing and analyzing environmental data, using online mapping platforms, and using R for GIS analyses. These topics are complex disciplines meriting their own workshops (or courses), but we expect to introduce participants to common workflows and resources to build a strong foundation for future analyses. Given next year’s theme for the conference, “Inspiring the Next Generation of Sea Turtle Conservationists”, this workshop provides an important venue for new researchers to learn critical technical skills to bring home to their sites and projects. As such, the workshop will be more heavily focused on capacity building for early career students and professionals – providing them guidance on getting started with their analyses, highlighting important resources, and letting users ask questions to support their work. Time will be dedicated at the end of the workshop for one-on-one time with GIS professionals where participants can ask questions specific to their projects and receive guidance from experts in the field.

Participants do not need to be GIS ‘pros’ to attend, in fact we encourage newer GIS users to attend to support the theme of the conference! Experienced GIS professionals are welcome to attend to share their experiences with others, network with other professionals, and support new users. Our goal is to foster a robust GIS user base within the sea turtle community and provide a forum for learning and resource sharing.

Date: Sunday 24th March (Full Day)

Description: Team BEACH (BE A CHangemaker) is an initiative started by the State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Program at Oceanic Society and Disney Conservation with the support of AZA-SAFE that aims to encourage human behavior change campaigns and education programs that will result in successful conservation of sea turtles and their habitats. Since its creation in 2020, Team Beach has built a network of projects from around the world that have worked together, shared ideas and resources, and hosted several educational webinars. While many sea turtle conservation organizations implement outreach programs in their communities, not all of them are designed with tangible behavior change goals and evaluation plans. The goal of Team BEACH is to create a network of sea turtle conservationists and behavior change experts who can share case studies, best practices, instructional materials, and stories so that outreach efforts drive behavior change for sea turtle conservation. Prior to ISTS, we will request that members of the Team BEACH network submit real-world conservation issues in their communities that they feel could be addressed through a targeted behavior change campaign. After an introductory presentation in which we discuss how to create a successful outreach campaign and associated evaluation, we will ask workshop participants to form small groups and brainstorm effective behavior change programs for each of the case studies. We will then ask them to present these solutions back to the larger group and facilitate open discussions about each solution with the workshop participants. By the end of the workshop, attendees will have learned about tools from behavior change specialists and will have applied those tools to real-life scenarios that sea turtle conservation professionals are facing. They may even create strategies that could be developed and implemented by Team BEACH members.

Date: Sunday 24th March (Full Day)

Description: After the success of the six previous TSD workshops (New Orleans, Dalaman, Lima, Las Vegas, Kobe, Charleston), the seventh TSD workshop will be organized during ISTS in Pattaya, Thailand.

Temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles was discovered more than 40 years ago, first in a lizard, then in a tortoise and a freshwater turtle and later in all marine turtles.

TSD research is particularly active at different level of organization (biochemical, molecular biology, ecology and evolution) and many progresses have been done in recent years.

This workshop will be a mix of presentations about the recent developments about TSD and best practices when analyzing sex ratio and temperatures in the context of evolutionary biology and conservation. The first half of the workshop will be dedicated to an historical review of TSD, analyses of the most recent papers published since the last TSP workshop and presentation of new data. The second part of the workshop will be dedicated to practical exercises about TSD, climate temperature analysis and sex ratios analysis: bring your computer with R and Rstudio installed and your own field temperature data if you have!

Date: Sunday 24th March (Full Day)

Description: The proposal of this workshop emerges from the evidence of the numerous sea turtle rescue centres developed in the last decade, sometimes facing emergencies with no available support of expertise. The lack of information may cause waste of energy and economical resources, uncertain results, and more important: pain for animals.

This workshop is addressed to people directly involved in sea turtle rehabilitation and care, offering the opportunity to share rehab and medical skills, knowledge, experiences and standard operating procedures. We propose to compare expertise on diagnostics, husbandry, critical care, lesions, anaesthesia and surgery, with the aim to develop an open discussion among participants.

We hope to better update the role of sea turtle rescue centres in the conservation efforts, a functional network among them and their future perspectives. We hope the realization of a common agreement that may support the standardization of common protocols and medical administration to be adopted globally, with a particular attention to high quality procedures for the care and convalescence of sea turtles.

Half Day Workshops (AM)

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: In many regions, non-targeted marine species, including several endangered, threatened, and Protected (ETP) species of marine turtles are experiencing startling population declines due in part to bycatch within a variety of fisheries. Understanding key threats to these ETP species are an important component to their conservation and recovery. Over the past years, some regions (e.g., Eastern  Pacific and Caribbean) have initiated coordinated assessments of ETP bycatch (e.g. sea turtle bycatch assessments) in coastal fisheries while other regions (e.g. Southeast Asia, East Africa) remain data poor with regards to such fisheries bycatch assessments. In addition, testing and adoption of bycatch reduction strategies has had uneven effort and success across regions as well as fishery. A workshop focusing on turtle bycatch assessments and mitigation strategies in the context of understanding what has been done, what has worked, and how lessons learned in one region/fishery can be applied in others will be an important step in guiding the necessary path for bycatch mitigation efforts for years to come.

For this workshop, we aim to bring researchers and policy makers to discuss in particular, gill net bycatch mitigation, small scale fishery /community harvest understanding/impact, and adoption of TEDs in coastal trawl fisheries.

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: The importance of the ongoing environmental education workshops for the 42nd International Sea Turtle Symposium lies in the fact that the conservation of these sea reptiles requires not only scientific knowledge, but also a deep empathy for these creatures, as well as an understanding wide range of its characteristics and current situation, which can only be achieved through environmental education.

The workshop seeks to empower the participants, providing them with a platform to build their own environmental education initiatives to reach the children of their communities and environments, through art. During it, the participants will be able to learn about different projects around the world where art is the main tool and the beneficiaries are children. This will allow to know different tools that have been used successfully in environmental education with sea turtles and the possibility of adapting them to their own projects. In the practical part, attendees will learn to use theater as an environmental intervention tool by creating little theaters that allow participants to tell different stories with easily accessible and recycled materials with sea turtles as the main protagonists, promoting not only creativity of the participants, also helping to create awareness of care and protection of the sea and sea turtles through an artistic tool such as paper theater and small theaters; a tool that is effective in working with children from all social and cultural backgrounds.

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: The Southeast Asia region encompasses a range of countries where their national languages or publications are non-English, making the accessibility of information challenging for international conservation efforts. Sea turtles are highly mobile species that utilize and connect habitats across national boundaries and jurisdictions. Therefore, understanding where and how sea turtles move is crucial to ensure adequate biological protection and habitat conservation.

There have been successful regional collaborative research and governance initiatives in this region. However, sea turtles are commonly monitored within local beaches or sea areas by researchers, environmental organizations, or government units. Consequently, information such as tag recoveries and photo IDs is often recorded on individual datasheets in their own languages. As a result, these records are not promptly transferable and are underutilized by a limited number of communities and managers. Therefore, there is a need to enhance knowledge-sharing facilities for in-country and region-wide purposes to ensure that all knowledge can equally reach managers, policymakers, and industries.

This workshop aims to invite researchers, conservationists, and government officers from each country in the Southeast Asia region to learn about centralized data repositories for regional access and  innovative tools for long-term monitoring objectives. The workshop also aims to facilitate discussions in identifying geographic and research gaps in understanding sea turtle movement and habitat connectivity. This effort builds upon a regional literature review that is currently underway and focuses on overcoming the existing barriers to actionable information.

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: In recent years, a focus on ‘decolonization’ has emerged across a range of disciplines, professions, and societal dynamics, reflecting a wave of sentiment that we need to right the wrongs of centuries of the Global North dominating the fate of the Global South. Not surprisingly, sea turtle conservation is no exception. The workshop organizers have authored a pair of articles in recent SWOT Reports describing the dynamics of ‘parachute’ or ‘helicopter’ science and identifying the ways in which neocolonialism has influenced sea turtle conservation over time. Building on these articles, in this workshop, we will examine the dynamic of Western scientists and practitioners migrating to developing countries (often former colonies countries) to work in sea turtle conservation and research. We will also address the dynamics and consequences of urban, elite researchers imposing their ideologies on local communities in the places where they work. Through a combination of presentations, group discussions, live polling, and interactive activities, participants will develop a shared understanding of the history and present-day implications of neo-colonial conservation approaches, and will explore what ‘decolonizing sea turtle conservation science’ could look like. We will discuss what steps might be taken to promote a more fair, equitable, respectful, and diverse sea turtle conservation community. As decolonization of conservation is an enormous topic that varies widely across the world, in this first workshop on this topic, we intend to keep the discussions ‘geographically agnostic’ to apply to the international sea turtle conservation community broadly. We plan to make this a hybrid in-person and virtual event to ensure access to many colleagues who will not attend ISTS in person.

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: The four-hour session is intended to bring together sea turtle researchers that are experienced, novice and just interested in using UAVs or drones. The various use cases for drones in research and conservation will be presented and discussed, as will recommended hardware and software systems. We will cover how to get started flying drones and using their data for your project.

The workshop is envisaged to be repeated and developed over successive years/ symposia so that the international sea turtle community are kept up to date with advances in drone-based research and ‘recruits’ to the field have opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners first hand.

The primary aims are to continue dialogue on the best use of UAVs for sea turtle studies and catalyse a network where technical advances and method development are shared.

Date: Sunday 24th March AM (Half Day)

Description: Much of what we know about the ecology and biology of sea turtles is based on nesting females, and to a lesser extent on juveniles in foraging and developmental habitats. These studies have sought mainly to understand natal homing, nest site fidelity, migratory movements, nesting trends, somatic growth rates, survival rates, and population structure. Comparatively little effort has been invested in understanding male sea turtle ecology, and even less has focused on the management and conservation of male turtles. Unlike females, males only rarely come ashore and the difficulties posed by capturing males at sea have made locating their feeding, courtship, and mating areas a challenge. Studying male sea turtles in foraging and mating areas across the globe is vital to better understand male habits, reproductive strategies, operational sex ratios, population dynamics, and habitat needs. After the successful workshop held in Charleston in 2019 and Cartagena in 2023 focused on male sea turtles, where more than 120 researchers from around the world participated, now is the time to continue promoting interest in including male sea turtles in research and conservation efforts. Therefore, we propose to meet in a workshop to learn about current research and conservation efforts and how we can establish collaborations and synergies to make these efforts effective.

Half-Day Workshops (PM)

Date: Sunday 24th March PM (Half Day)

Description: The rise of social media and the wide availability of digital cameras and smartphones have greatly enabled the initiation of numerous sea turtle citizen science projects. Like sea turtles, such projects can be found all over the world. Typically, these initiatives gather images of sea turtles (captured underwater, from boat or on the beach), which are contributed by citizen scientists, local stakeholders, and tourists, or extracted from social media platforms. This data, often comprising thousands of records, has the potential to contribute to various research efforts, such as sea turtle abundance and its change over time. On the other hand, they provide excellent opportunities for sea turtle researchers to interact and inform data collectors about sea turtle conservation. The workshop aims to bring together several organisations working on such projects, operating in diverse locations globally in order to discuss key challenges that arise: How to actively promote these projects to the public? How to maintain ongoing engagement with data collectors? How to efficiently handle data and implement open data practices? In which ways can these projects reach decision-makers and local stakeholders and eventually create an impact? How to evaluate and measure their success? During the workshop, we will exchange experiences, share success stories and failures in order to learn from each other’s practices. The workshop is open to everyone who is interested in the topic.

Date: Sunday 24th March PM (Half Day)

Description: A global discussion of best practices to effectively engage community members of all ages and backgrounds in sea turtle conservation. We will share resources, successes, and areas of improvement in the ways we engage communities in conservation through hands-on demonstrations and facilitated discussions. Attendees will have the opportunity to share established programs and methods, as well as those in development, from organizations in South Africa, Dubai, California, Hawaii, and Florida. This workshop seeks to create a space within which to collaborate and improve our diverse efforts in sea turtle and marine conservation education.

Date: Sunday 24th March PM (Half Day)

Description: Each year, the student committee develops a Workshop presenting information on how to find jobs or funding, current available jobs, and other career advice. We will have guest speakers from a variety of fields who are qualified to offer advice on these subjects. We will also discuss the key skills that you need at each of those jobs and resources to begin preparing for them. More specifically, this workshop will focus on the wide breadth of sea turtle-related career paths and advice for students and new graduates to succeed in each one. This will range from governmental jobs, academia, nonprofit and for-profit careers.

Regional Meetings/Reunions

Meetings/Reunions provide an opportunity to find out more about what is happening and who is operating within your region. All meetings/reunions will be held on Monday 25th March 2024. There will be the following meetings/reunions at ISTS42:

Half-Day AM:

  • Africa Regional Meeting (Room: Napalai A)
  • East Asia Regional Meeting (Room: Napalai B)

Half-Day PM:

  • Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) Regional Meeting (Room: Napalai A)
  • Mediterranean Reunion (Room: Dusit 3)
  • Oceania/Pacific Islands Regional Meeting (Room: Napalai B)


  • RETOMALA (Reunión de Especialistas sobre Tortugas Marinas en Latinoamérica) (Room: Napalai C)

If you would like to attend a Meeting/Reunion then please select the specific check box for your region when you register for ISTS42. Each Meeting/Reunion costs USD$10 to attend.

Thailand Regional Meeting (Room: Dusit 1)

The Thailand Regional Meeting has been scheduled for Monday 25th March (AM) in Dusit 1. Participants who wish to sign up for the meeting will need to enter a unique code when registering. To request the code, please email Na or Ning. Please note that there is no cost for attending this meeting.