Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For the first time, scientists tag a loggerhead sea turtle off US West Coast

12.05.2015

Data from the satellite tag should help scientists understand what habitats loggerheads use and how to more effectively protect this endangered species

Fifty miles out to sea from San Diego, in the middle of April, under a perfectly clear blue sky, NOAA Fisheries scientists Tomo Eguchi and Jeff Seminoff leaned over the side of a rubber inflatable boat and lowered a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle into the water. That turtle was a trailblazer -- the first of its kind ever released off the West Coast of the United States with a satellite transmitter attached.


The first ever loggerhead sea turtle to be tagged off the U.S. West Coast, along with two of the NOAAFisheries scientists who tagged him, Jeff Seminoff (left) and Tomo Eguchi.

Photo copyright Ralph Pace

Once he was in the water, the little guy -- "he's about the size of a dinner plate," Seminoff said -- paddled away to begin a long journey. He's been beaming back his location ever since.

That location data will help scientists answer some very important questions about this endangered species.

"We know that there are juvenile loggerheads in this part of the Pacific, but they're small and very hard to spot," Eguchi said. "So we don't have good data on what types of habitat they're using."

Part of the reason for the mystery is that, although scientists have long been tagging adult sea turtles, the transmitters have only recently been made small enough to attach to juvenile sea turtles. Today, new tagging methods are quickly shedding light on what scientists once called the "lost years" -- the early years of a sea turtle's life when their migration patterns were mostly unknown.

Scientists have known for a while, however, that juvenile loggerheads sometimes use the same habitat as swordfish, especially when the water becomes unusually warm. They know this because loggerheads are occasionally caught in the gillnets used by swordfish fishermen.

Important Data for Conservation

To protect the turtles, NOAA Fisheries created the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area off the coast of Southern California. When water temperatures rise, or are forecasted to rise, as happens during an El Niño event, managers close that area to the drift gillnet fishery for swordfish. That happened for the first time last summer.

One reason scientists are excited about releasing a tagged loggerhead is that the data it provides might allow managers to fine-tune fishery closures.

"If it turns out that the turtles like different habitat than swordfish, or if they use the same habitat but at different times, then there might be a way to allow fishermen to fish while still keeping turtle hotspots protected," Seminoff said. "It would be a win-win."

An Unlikely Journey

The pioneering loggerhead sea turtle had been plucked from the ocean a few weeks earlier by a Coast Guard vessel and brought to the Aquarium of the Pacific for medical attention, but veterinarians soon decided that the turtle was healthy and could be released. Scientists took advantage of the turtle's unlikely detour to outfit it with a satellite tag.

The tag should stay on for 4 or 5 months. As long as it's attached, people can follow the turtle's travels on this loggerhead turtle movement map, which is updated several times a day.

The turtle has traveled more than 200 km so far, though it's still unclear whether the animal is just hitching a ride on the currents or actively swimming. Scientists hope to answer that question as more data come in.

"Either way," said Seminoff, "that's a long way for such a little guy."

Media Contact

Jim Milbury
jim.milbury@noaa.gov
562-980-4006

 @NOAAFisheries

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov 

Jim Milbury | EurekAlert!

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht 5000 tons of plastic released into the environment every year
12.07.2019 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Climate impact of clouds made from airplane contrails may triple by 2050
27.06.2019 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bridging the nanoscale gap: A deep look inside atomic switches

22.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Regulation of root growth from afar: How genes from leaf cells affect root growth

22.07.2019 | Life Sciences

USF geoscientists discover mechanisms controlling Greenland ice sheet collapse

22.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>