While the long-distance movements of pelagic vertebrates are becoming known thanks to satellite telemetry, the factors determining their courses have hardly been investigated. We have analysed the effects of oceanographic factors on the post-nesting movements of three satellite-tracked leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) moving in the southwest Indian Ocean. By superimposing the turtle tracks on contemporaneous images of sea-surface temperatures and sea height anomalies, we show that currentrelated features dominate the shape of the reconstructed routes. After an initial offshore movement, turtles moved along straight routes when in the core of the current, or executed loops within eddies. Large parts of the routes were strikingly similar to those of surface drifters tracked in the same region. These findings document that long-lasting oceanic movements of marine turtles may be shaped by oceanic currents.

Current transport in leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) wandering in the ocean

LUSCHI, PAOLO;MENCACCI, RESI;
2003-01-01

Abstract

While the long-distance movements of pelagic vertebrates are becoming known thanks to satellite telemetry, the factors determining their courses have hardly been investigated. We have analysed the effects of oceanographic factors on the post-nesting movements of three satellite-tracked leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) moving in the southwest Indian Ocean. By superimposing the turtle tracks on contemporaneous images of sea-surface temperatures and sea height anomalies, we show that currentrelated features dominate the shape of the reconstructed routes. After an initial offshore movement, turtles moved along straight routes when in the core of the current, or executed loops within eddies. Large parts of the routes were strikingly similar to those of surface drifters tracked in the same region. These findings document that long-lasting oceanic movements of marine turtles may be shaped by oceanic currents.
Luschi, Paolo; Sale, A; Mencacci, Resi; HUGHES G., R; LUTJEHARMS J. R., E; Papi, Floriano
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/81173
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