Freeing loggerhead turtles comes at a priceApril 23, 2012
The study, which has been published in Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, involved placing satellite transmitters on the shell of 12 healthy, wild loggerhead turtles' (Caretta caretta), and on 6 more that had spent a few months in a rehabilitation centre in the Balearic Islands.
"The six animals from the centre were seriously affected when they were caught and they had a slow, complicated recovery process" Lluís Cardona, the main author of the study and researcher in the animal biology department in the University of Barcelona (UB) explained to SINC.
Upon being set free, three of the rehabilitated turtles showed changes in behaviour. "One died and the other two did not swim well and were very disorientated" Cardona, who compared their adaptation to the environment of these turtles with the twelve control ones, states.
"We received a signal each time they went up to breathe and from this we can tell what speed they swim at and the route they follow", the researcher comments. One of the most informative parameters regarding the animal's health is the time spent at the water's surface. "Turtles go up to breathe and thermoregulate. The time spent at the surface reflects their buoyancy control" the biologist highlights.
The cost of reintegration
Although the number of animals included in this study is not very high and they need more studies, the results show that when the rehabilitation is complicated, there is a percentage of animals that do not readapt to freedom.
"The underlying question of this project is when it is worthwhile recuperating and treating a turtle" the UB expert asks. At a time of limited resources and for the good of the animal itself, "the scientists have to work with veterinarians in the rehabilitation centres to establish protocols to determine when a turtle should be treated and when not" Cardona says.
The six turtles in the study were rehabilitated in the Balearic Islands by the Aspro-Natura Foundation between 2004 and 2007. Of those, two had been hit by boats, two had throat and stomach injuries from fishing hooks, and the last two had injured their flippers in fishing nets.
"Most of these animals are caught accidentally by fishing hooks or trapped in trawler or trammel nets" the scientist explains. "A smaller percentage collides with boats or gets caught in abandoned nets or plastic".
However, the number of turtles caught by fishing hooks has reduced. "This decrease is due to the fact that fishermen fish at a deeper level at which there are fewer turtles, although they are still researching this final aspect" the biologist points out.
90% of turtles in the Balearic Islands' waters come from the USA. "In this country, the number of nesting females of this species has dropped" Cardona warns.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Related Loggerhead Turtles Current Events and Loggerhead Turtles News Articles
Scientists study predator-prey behavior between sharks and turtles
A new collaborative study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science & Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy examined predator-prey interactions between tiger sharks and sea turtles off the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
Many Dry Tortugas loggerheads actually Bahamas residents
Many loggerhead sea turtles that nest in Dry Tortugas National Park head to rich feeding sites in the Bahamas after nesting, a discovery that may help those working to protect this threatened species.
Climate change threatens 30 years of sea turtle conservation success
A new University of Central Florida study is sounding the alarm about climate change and its potential impact on more than 30 years of conservation efforts to keep sea turtles around for the next generation.
Surprise discovery off California exposes loggerhead 'lost years'
The discovery of numerous juvenile loggerhead turtles by a NOAA Fisheries research survey more than 200 miles off the Southern California Coast has revealed new details about a mysterious part of the endangered turtles' epic migration across the Pacific Ocean known as "the lost years."
Sea turtles' first days of life: A sprint and a ride towards safety
With new nano-sized acoustic transmitters, scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Turtle Foundation and Queen Mary University of London were able to follow the pathways of loggerhead turtle hatchlings from Cape Verde.
Young loggerhead turtles not going with the flow
Juvenile loggerhead turtles swim into oncoming ocean currents, instead of passively drifting with them, according to a study published August 6, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Donald Kobayashi from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and colleagues.
Paleontologists assemble giant turtle bone from fossil discoveries made centuries apart
"As soon as those two halves came together, like puzzle pieces, you knew it," said Ted Daeschler, PhD, associate curator of vertebrate zoology and vice president for collections at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Study provides new information about the sea turtle 'lost years'
A new study satellite tracked 17 young loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic Ocean to better understand sea turtle nursery grounds and early habitat use during the 'lost years.'
Scientists predict major shifts in Pacific ecosystems by 2100
What if you woke up every day to find that the closest grocery store had moved several miles farther away from your home? Over time, you would have to travel hundreds of extra miles to find essential food for yourself and your family.
New turtle tracking technique may aid efforts to save loggerhead
The old adage "you are what you eat" is helping scientists better understand the threatened loggerhead turtle, which is the primary nester on Central Florida's beaches.
More Loggerhead Turtles Current Events and Loggerhead Turtles News Articles