Changes in serum concentrations of gonadotropins and gonadal steroids during the periovulatory period were monitored in green, Chelonia mydas, and loggerhead, Caretta caretta, sea turtles. Turtles were from natural populations that nest on a coral island on the Great Barrier Reef. After nesting, each turtle was transferred to a holding tank and held for a maximum of 8 days. A time series of blood samples was obtained from each of five sea turtles (three C. mydas and two C. caretta) starting immediately after nesting and then at approximately 12-hr intervals until the time of release. Prior to release back into the ocean, each turtle was examined by laparoscopy to verify that ovulation had occurred. Serum concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone (PRO), and testosterone (T) in both species exhibited significant changes during this period. Surges of FSH, LH, and PRO were evident within approximately 20 to 50 hr after each turtle had nested. The significant change in FSH concentration during the periovulatory period is the first such report for a reptile. Coincident with maximal concentrations of FSH, LH, and PRO was a decline in T concentrations in both species. Estradiol-17β concentrations were near or below assay sensitivity in the C. mydas, whereas those in the C. caretta were detectable but exhibited no significant changes. The dynamic changes in FSH, LH, PRO, and T concentrations are consistent with the hypothesis that these hormones facilitate specific physiological events during ovulation and egg production. © 1992.