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Faculty Sponsor

Frank V. Paladino

Department/Program

Department of Biology, Master of Science degree program

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

Abstract

Loggerhead sea turtles are globally endangered cold blooded reptiles. As with all sea turtles, they return to the same beach to nest, making each distinct beach and population important for species survival. Time spent between nesting attempts is referred to as the inter-nesting period and is a short but vital part of a turtle’s life. As turtles are able to behaviorally thermoregulate, temperature is thought to be an important aspect of inter-nesting location. Determining where a turtle spends her inter-nesting period is an important research topic for the conservation of the species. Kyparissia Bay, Peloponnese, Greece is the second most important loggerhead rookery in the Mediterranean, and has no national park protection. The beach is 44 km long with a dense nesting area in the southern 9.5 km, and averages 620 loggerhead nests each year. This study, in conjunction with ARCHELON, the sea turtle protection society of Greece, investigated the inter-nesting habitat of female loggerhead turtles nesting along Kyparissia Bay through the use of TDR data loggers, radio and satellite transmitters deployed on female inter-nesting loggerheads. Turtles remained very shallow, spending 99.6% of time at depths less than five meters. Turtles experienced a wide range of temperatures, spending 90.8% of time between 23 C and 29 C. Spatially, turtles largely remained within 5 kilometers of the dense nesting area during the inter-nesting period. Two post-nesting migrations were also recorded, including one into the Adriatic Sea and one unique track travelling through the strait of Sicily into the Western Mediterranean.

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Thermal and spatial tracking of inter-nesting loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in Kyparissia Bay, Greece.

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Biology Commons

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