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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Frank Paladino

Department/Program

Department of Biology

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

Abstract

The eastern pacific green turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizi) is endangered and nests along the Pacific coast of Central America. Understanding where turtles are going when they are not nesting on the beach can help us to better preserve the resources and ocean habitats that are important to these species. There are three characteristic behaviors of adult sea turtles when in the water: they are either migrating to or from foraging areas, foraging, or spending time in off-shore habitats in between depositing clutches of eggs. I studied post nesting migrations and interesting movements in eastern pacific green turtles nesting on Playa Cabuyal, Montes de Oro, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The scientific questions I am answering are: 1) what locations are the utilized by as inter-nesting turtles, and 2) where do these nesting turtles go to forage after nesting and do the migrations vary from year to year or within the season.

In Cabuyal we patrol the beach every night looking for turtles. Once a turtle has started nesting we check that her carapace for abnormalities. If she has a suitable carapace, when nesting is completed we attach a Spot5 Wildlife computers satellite transmitter to the upper center of her carapace using Powers T-380 epoxy. These satellite transmitters connect to the Argos system every time the turtle surfaces to breath or when on land nesting and we map the movements using this information. I created a complete map of initial oceanographic factors that affect turtles in conjunction with the turtle track data. I currently have data on one post-nesting migration and two inter-nesting turtles. This research will dramatically increase our understanding of the population and how to implement conservation efforts.

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Preliminary Satellite Telemetry of East Pacific Green Turtles Nesting on Playa Cabuyal, Costa Rica

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