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Spatial variation in directional swimming enables juvenile sea turtles to reach and remain in productive waters

Christiansen, Fredrik, Putman, NF, Farman, R, Parker, DM, Rice, MR, Polovina, JJ, Balazs, GH and Hays, Graeme C 2016, Spatial variation in directional swimming enables juvenile sea turtles to reach and remain in productive waters, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 557, pp. 247-250, doi: 10.3354/meps11874.

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Title Spatial variation in directional swimming enables juvenile sea turtles to reach and remain in productive waters
Author(s) Christiansen, Fredrik
Putman, NF
Farman, R
Parker, DM
Rice, MR
Polovina, JJ
Balazs, GH
Hays, Graeme C
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 557
Start page 247
End page 250
Total pages 13
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0171-8630
Keyword(s) Animal tracking
Caretta caretta
Lagrangian drifters
Movement ecology
Ocean currents
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Magnetic navigation behaviour
Long-distance migration
Marine turtles
Transoceanic migrations
Surface temperature
Circulation model
Summary Ocean currents play an important role in the movement and distribution of organisms and for small animals it is often assumed that their movements in the ocean are determined by passive drift. Here we challenge this assumption by conducting an experiment at the scale of an entire ocean basin to test whether small (~35 cm) juvenile loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta move independently of ocean currents. By comparing the trajectories of 46 satellite tracked turtles (11502 positions, 12850 tracking days) with Lagrangian drifters (3716303 positions, 927529 tracking days) and virtual particles tracked within the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM), we found that in certain areas turtles moved in a similar manner to ocean currents, but in other areas turtle movement was markedly different from ocean currents, with turtles moving to areas thousands of kilometres from where they would have drifted passively. We further found that turtles were distributed in more-productive areas than would be expected if their movement depended on passive transport only. These findings demonstrate that regional variation in directional swimming contributes to young sea turtles reaching more favourable developmental habitats and supports laboratory work suggesting that young turtles have a map sense to determine their location in a seemingly featureless ocean.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps11874
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
Socio Economic Objective 960808 Marine Flora
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The authors
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Created: Mon, 03 Apr 2017, 16:00:42 EST

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