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New turtle tracking technique may aid efforts to save loggerhead
Date:9/21/2012

are while others go to the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico. Some stay off the coast of Central Florida's beaches. Previously, scientists believed the majority of the loggerheads headed south.

While there are efforts to protect the turtle nests on the beaches, protecting their foraging grounds is equally important, biologists say. Many turtles die because they accidently get caught in fishing nets or encounter other dangers while out at sea.

The technique Ceriani validated should aid those efforts.

She took small blood samples from turtles at the refuge and completed a chemical analysis, which measured distinct markers known as stable isotopes. She also attached transmitters to the turtles so she could follow them using the more expensive but proven satellite tracking technique. The isotope approach proved to be equally useful, and it is much less expensive.

"By combining isotope research with satellite tracking technology, we are learning exciting information about loggerhead sea turtles," said Daniel R. Evans, a research specialist at the Sea Turtle Conservancy and co-author of the research paper. "This research helps scientists and conservation managers identify key feeding areas for loggerhead turtles and helps direct policy and regulations that protect sea turtles in these specific areas."

Ceriani said she will continue to research the migratory routes by adding more loggerheads to the study.


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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zenaida.kotala@ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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