The open-sea movements of marine animals are affected by the drifting action of currents that, if not compensated for, can produce non-negligible deviations from the correct route towards a given target. Marine turtles are paradigmatic skilful oceanic navigators that are able to reach remote goals at the end of long-distance migrations, apparently overcoming current drift effects. Particularly relevant is the case of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), which spend entire years in the ocean, wandering in search of planktonic prey. Recent analyses have revealed how the movements of satellite-tracked leather- backs in the Indian, Atlantic and Paciﬁc Oceans are strongly dependent on the oceanic currents, up to the point that turtles are often passively transported over long distances. However, leatherbacks are known to return to speciﬁc areas to breed every 2–3 years, thus ﬁnding their way back home after long periods in the oceanic environment. Here we examine the navigational consequences of the leatherbacks’ close association with currents and discuss how the combined reliance on mechanisms of map-based navigation and local orientation cues close to the target may allow leatherbacks to accomplish the difﬁcult task of returning to speciﬁc sites after years spent wandering in a moving medium.
I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.