Photo Identification

An important aspect of our research is Photographic Identification, or photo-ID. This is the process of recognizing individual animals of a species from unique markings on their body.




Conservation refers to a logical thinking ability that allows a person to determine that a certain quantity will remain the same despite adjustment of the container, shape, or apparent size, according to the psychologist Jean Piaget.

Dictionary result for conservation.


Prevention of wasteful use of a resource.

"the Goverment must take action to promote enery conservation"

the principle by which the total value of a physical quantity or parameter (such as energy, mass, linear or angular momentum) remains constant in a system which is not subject to external influence.

the act of conserving; prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss; preservation:

conservation of wildlife; conservation of human rights.

official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management.

a district, river, forest, etc., under such supervision.

the careful utilization of a natural resource in order to prevent depletion.

the restoration and preservation of works of art.

Photo-ID is a cost-effective, non-invasive technique that can easily be used to monitor sea turtles without disturbing them. It is a great way to involve “citizen scientists”, that is, members of the general public with little to no scientific training.




Curacao is particularly suited for a citizen science data collection program, given the number of tourists that visit the country specifically to dive, snorkel, and view marine wildlife. Photo-ID can be used as a “capture-mark-recapture” method. Statistical modelling of a series of photos can reveal patterns of residency and movement between reefs, determine the population and population structure of a reef at a given time, calculate inter-nesting periods, etc.

The results can be combined with the STCC's database to develop and evaluate turtle conservation measures. STCC is also working with other groups around the world to develop “The Internet of Turtles”, which will be a data-sharing platform for PhotoID research. As of January 2016, there were over 9,000 sightings logged in the Photo-ID database of almost 1,900 unique Hawksbill turtles, over 320 Green turtles, and over 25 Olive Ridley turtles.




We are excited to be part of this and stay at the forefront of new methods to research and protect sea turtles.