Movement patterns of endangered turtle vary from Pacific to Atlantic

May 16, 2012
This is a photograph of an Eastern Pacific leatherback turtle. Credit: George L. Shillinger

The movement patterns of critically endangered leatherback turtles vary greatly depending on whether the animals live in the North Atlantic or the Eastern Pacific, with implications for feeding behavior and population recovery, according to research published May 16 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The authors, led by Helen Bailey of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, found that turtles in the Atlantic had two travel modes, low and high speed, associated with foraging and transit, respectively. The Pacific turtles, on the other hand, only had one mode of travel at speeds that indicated transit rather than foraging.

The researchers write that these results suggest that the Pacific turtles rarely achieve high foraging success and therefore must spend longer periods of time searching for prey, which may hinder their relative to turtles in the Atlantic.

Explore further: Endangered turtles' travels are monitored

More information: Bailey H, Fossette S, Bograd SJ, Shillinger GL, Swithenbank AM, et al. (2012) Movement Patterns for a Critically Endangered Species, the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Linked to Foraging Success and Population Status. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36401. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036401

Related Stories

Turtles are loyal in feeding as well as in breeding

April 25, 2007

A research team led by the Dr Annette Broderick of the University of Exeter’s School of Biosciences has discovered that, after laying their eggs, sea turtles travel hundreds of miles to feed at exactly the same sites. The ...

Five sea turtle populations are endangered

September 16, 2011

The United States issued a ruling on Friday saying that five world populations of loggerhead sea turtles are endangered species but four are only "threatened."

Recommended for you

Volcanic bacteria take minimalist approach to survival

August 4, 2015

New research by scientists at the University of Otago and GNS Science is helping to solve the puzzle of how bacteria are able to live in nutrient-starved environments. It is well-established that the majority of bacteria ...

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Four million years at Africa's salad bar

August 3, 2015

As grasses grew more common in Africa, most major mammal groups tried grazing on them at times during the past 4 million years, but some of the animals went extinct or switched back to browsing on trees and shrubs, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.