Sea Turtles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States

Carol Ruckdeschel and C. Robert Shoop
With Meg Hoyle, Photo Editor
Foreword by James R. Spotila

A comprehensive guide to sea turtles—especially for general readers


"Carol Ruckdeschel and Bob Shoop have produced a compelling guide to sea turtles along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, providing an ideal source of information for amateur naturalists, whether visitors or residents."
—Whit Gibbons, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

"Sea Turtles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts is a superb account of the natural history of America's endangered sea turtles. Ruckdeschel and Shoop provide clear and highly readable accounts of these charismatic reptiles; the authors' obvious love for nature is evident in every word."
—C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr., University of Florida

"Sea Turtles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States, by Carol Ruckdeschel and Bob Shoop, will be a new and much valued addition to both my field kit library and office book shelve. It is both extremely thorough and very clearly written and will be useful to folks at all levels of sea turtle involvement or interest. This book is very readable and yet provides a complete course on sea turtle biology and conservation. Bob's very notable background in the academic world as a researcher and university professor and Carol's as an unmatched field biologist and resident barrier island naturalist are well blended in this work. Their vast knowledge and love of sea turtles and our environment comes across very clearly from its pages. Thanks so very much to Bob, in memorial, and Carol, still out on the beach."
—John Crawford, University of Georgia Marine Extension Service

"Accessible, fully illustrated guidebook."

"Despite the large body of technical literature devoted to sea turtles, there are surprisingly few concise summaries of sea turtle natural history for the general public. Ruckdeschel and Shoop's work provides us with something that has been sorely missing, a well-written comprehensive guide to the biology of sea turtles in the southeastern United States. Particularly interesting are the species accounts that summarize the most recent scientific information on the complex and fascinating life histories of sea turtles. This book is highly recommended as a reference for students, educators, naturalists and anyone interested in sea turtles."
—Mark G. Dodd, Georgia Sea Turtle Program Coordinator, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

"A superb new guide to sea turtle biology and conservation . . . Well-written and meticulously-researched . . . clear, highly-readable . . . thorough and timely . . . This book is sure to become a treasured reference."
Athens Magazine

"This book is an excellent introduction for the general public to some of the seas' most beautiful animals. . . . Ruckdeschel and Shoop did an excellent job compiling an easy-to-understand guide to sea turtles for the general public."

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Written by two of the Southeast's foremost authorities on sea turtle conservation, this is an accessible, fully illustrated guide to the species that frequent the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

No one who encounters a sea turtle soon forgets it. The leatherback, for instance, can grow to huge proportions, commonly approaching eight feet in length and more than half a ton in weight. Powerful swimmers, they are also among the deepest divers of all air-breathing sea creatures. Despite these assets, the survival of the leatherback, like that of all sea turtle species, is under constant threat from commercial fishing operations, overdevelopment of nesting grounds, pollution, and predation by introduced species.

The guide opens with comprehensive coverage of the sea turtle's evolution, juvenile and adult life cycles, nesting, diet and feeding, disease and parasites, predators, and conservation issues. Each subsequent chapter is dedicated to a particular turtle species: loggerhead, leatherback, Kemp's ridley, green sea turtle, hawksbill, and olive ridley. The account of each species describes distribution, habitats, general appearance, life history and behavior, and conservation. For each species, photographs of hatchlings and adults and a map showing distribution and migration provide further information.

Sea turtles have been swimming the seas for one hundred million years. Yet all of the species in this book—indeed, all sea turtles worldwide—are on U.S. and international endangered lists. Biologists Carol Ruckdeschel and C. Robert Shoop have dedicated their careers to learning about sea turtles—and to ensuring that we understand that we are stakeholders in the fate of these ancient creatures. With this guide in hand, readers will be better equipped to understand sea turtle biology and support sea turtle conservation efforts.

Species information includes

  • distribution
  • habitats
  • general appearance
  • life history and behavior
  • conservation

Additional features include:

  • identification keys
  • glossary
  • selected bibliography
  • detailed drawings of distinctive features
  • color photographs
  • distribution maps
A Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book

Page count: 152 pp.
79 color photos, 6 maps, 32 figures
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $23.95

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Carol Ruckdeschel is a naturalist and research biologist based on Cumberland Island, Georgia. C. Robert Shoop was a professor of biological sciences at the University of Rhode Island. Their collection of sea turtle data and specimens, one of the world's most comprehensive, is housed in the Cumberland Island Museum on Cumberland Island. James R. Spotila, the L. D. Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Science at Drexel University, is the author of Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation.