Testing the navigational abilities of ocean migrants: displacement experiments on green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Luschi, Paolo, Akesson, Susanne, Broderick, Annette C., Glen, Fiona, Godley, Brendan J., Papi, Floriano and Hays, Graeme C. 2001, Testing the navigational abilities of ocean migrants: displacement experiments on green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), Behavioural ecology and sociobiology, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 528-534, doi: 10.1007/s002650100396.

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Title Testing the navigational abilities of ocean migrants: displacement experiments on green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)
Author(s) Luschi, Paolo
Akesson, Susanne
Broderick, Annette C.
Glen, Fiona
Godley, Brendan J.
Papi, Floriano
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C. orcid.org/0000-0002-3314-8189
Journal name Behavioural ecology and sociobiology
Volume number 50
Issue number 6
Start page 528
End page 534
Total pages 7
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2001-11
ISSN 0340-5443
Keyword(s) navigation
magnetic map
chemosensory hypothesis
Ascension Island
Summary Like many animals migrating through the oceans, sea turtles face difficult navigational tasks when they have to reach distant, specific sites. The paradigmatic case of Brazilian green turtles (Chelonia mydas), which nest on the tiny Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, has often been the subject of hypotheses concerning their navigational mechanisms. To investigate their nature, we displaced 18 females from Ascension and tracked them by satellite after release from eight different points in the ocean, 60–450 km away from the island. Four turtles moved to Brazil soon after the release, 4 moved in various directions before heading to Brazil, and 10 reached the island. All the successful trips, bar 1, were winding but ended with a final straight segment of variable length, as if the turtles were searching for a sensory contact with the island which they obtained at various distances. The approach to Ascension mostly occurred from the direction opposite to the trade wind, suggesting a navigational role of wind-borne information originating from the island.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s002650100396
Field of Research 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2001, Springer
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058247

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