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Influence of ocean currents on long-distance movement of leatherback sea turtles in the Southwest Indian Ocean

Lambardi, Paolo, Lutjeharms, Johann R.E., Mencacci, Resi, Hays, Graeme C. and Luschi, Paolo 2008, Influence of ocean currents on long-distance movement of leatherback sea turtles in the Southwest Indian Ocean, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 353, pp. 289-301, doi: 10.3354/meps07118.

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Title Influence of ocean currents on long-distance movement of leatherback sea turtles in the Southwest Indian Ocean
Author(s) Lambardi, Paolo
Lutjeharms, Johann R.E.
Mencacci, Resi
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C. orcid.org/0000-0002-3314-8189
Luschi, Paolo
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 353
Start page 289
End page 301
Total pages 13
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2008
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Keyword(s) satellite telemetry
Dermochelys
remote sensing
oceanography
current drift
Summary Leatherback turtles Dermochelys coriacea spend most of their life in oceanic environments, whose physical and biological characteristics are primarily forged by sea current circulation. Water mass movements can mechanically act on swimming turtles, thus determining their routes, and can differentially distribute their planktonic prey. By integrating satellite tracking data with contemporaneous remote-sensing information, we analysed the post-nesting journeys of 9 leatherbacks with respect to oceanographic surface conditions. Tracked turtles showed large variations in migration routes and in final destinations, apparently without heading for specific foraging areas. Their complex tracks spread over wide regions around South Africa. Leatherbacks were greatly influenced by the currents encountered during their movements, with their trajectories displaying curves or revolutions in the presence of (and in accordance with) rotating water masses. An impressive similarity was observed between large parts of the turtle routes and those of surface drifters tracked in the same regions. Finally, leatherbacks remained associated for long periods with specific oceanographic features, which most probably offered them profitable foraging opportunities. These results agree with previous findings in showing a strong influence of oceanic currents and mesoscale features on the movements of South African leatherbacks, and additionally identify the role of current-related features in causing the observed route variability and in determining high-quality foraging hotspots for leatherbacks moving in the ocean.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps07118
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 ©2008, Inter-Research
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058344

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.