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Changes in behaviour during the inter-nesting period and post-nesting migration for Ascension Island green turtles

Hays, G.C., Luschi, P., Papi, F., del, Seppia C. and Marsh, R. 1999, Changes in behaviour during the inter-nesting period and post-nesting migration for Ascension Island green turtles, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 189, pp. 263-273.

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Title Changes in behaviour during the inter-nesting period and post-nesting migration for Ascension Island green turtles
Author(s) Hays, G.C.
Luschi, P.
Papi, F.
del, Seppia C.
Marsh, R.
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 189
Start page 263
End page 273
Total pages 11
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 1999-11-26
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Keyword(s) green turtle
Chelonia mydas
satellite tracking
submergence
Ascension Island
Summary Satellite transmitters were attached to green turtles Chelonia mydas while they were nesting on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic (7°57'S, 14°22'W) and individuals were subsequently monitored during the inter-nesting period and the post-nesting migration to Brazil. During the inter-nesting period, data from the transmitters suggested that turtles generally stayed within 5 km of the nesting beach on which they had originally been observed. During both the inter-nesting period and migration, turtles were submerged the vast majority (>95%) of the time, suggesting that they neither basked at the surface nor drifted passively during migration to any great extent. There was a clear dichotomy in submergence behaviour, with submergences tending to be of short duration during post-nesting migration (mean = 7.3 min, 3318 h of data from 5 individuals) and of longer duration during the inter-nesting period (mean = 22.1 min, 714 h of data from 5 different individuals). As submergence duration is generally linked to activity levels in sea turtles, this pattern suggests that turtles were comparatively inactive during the inter-nesting period and comparatively active during migration. During both the inter-nesting period and the post-nesting migration, diel submergence patterns were detected with dive duration tending to be longer at night. As the turtles migrated WSW from Ascension Island, there was a reduction in their speed of travel. A numerical model of the near-surface currents suggested that this reduction was associated with the weakening of the WSW flow of the prevailing South Atlantic Equatorial Current.
Language eng
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 ©1999, Inter-Research
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058265

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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