We are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper “Delineating foraging grounds of a loggerhead turtle population through satellite tracking of juveniles” by Snape R., Schofield G., and White M,. This paper was published on February 2020 in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems journal. To download the full article please click here.
This paper stems from the 3-year collaborative project that we implemented in 2008-2010 to monitor sea turtles in the Patok area of Albania. It follows several previous papers and reports presenting project results. The paper presents the results of the first satellite tracking program of sea turtles inhabiting Albania waters. Three juvenile loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from within Drini Bay were tracked from 2009 – 2011 to provide important information of the different overwintering strategies and habitat use, from within the Bay and the Adriatic Sea.
- Tracking of juvenile sea turtles is a research priority to inform the protection of relevant habitats and ensure sustainable rates of recruitment into adult populations. Based on satellite tracking, mixed stock analysis, and mark–recapturestudies, Drini Bay in the South Adriatic Sea, Central Mediterranean, has been con-firmed as an important foraging site used by loggerhead turtles from all major rookeries in the Mediterranean subpopulation.
- Three juvenile loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from Drini Bay were tracked for 763, 364, and 211 days respectively. All turtles exhibited different movement patterns.
- The two smaller turtles ranged widely beyond the bay. One of these (69.5 cm curved-carapace length; CCL) used the coldest region of the Mediterranean during the first winter of tracking where mean weekly temperatures dipped below 12°C
but moved southwards to warmer waters during the second winter. In com-parison, the other (66 cm CCL) individual moved south to winter in warmer waters from the outset. Both individuals returned to Drini Bay during summer, demon-strating fidelity to the study site. The third turtle, which was larger (76 cm CCL), remained in Drini Bay for the duration of tracking. These results support the find-ings of other mark–recapture studies at Drini Bay, which have suggested that the foraging site is being used in a transient way by immature turtles.
- All three turtles preferentially used the shallow waters (<30 m) in the south of Drini Bay. The study demonstrates a high degree of overlap between the habitat use of the three tracked turtles and that of adult turtles tracked from nesting sites and although based on a small sample size, contributes to a growing knowledge base regarding the wider habitat use of the Mediterranean loggerhead population.
Revised: 27 November 2019, Accepted: 31 December 2019
Keywords: Adriatic Sea, behaviour, caretta, juvenile movements, Mediterranean, MPA, satellite telemetry
The authors acknowledge partners: University of Tirana, Herpetofauna Albanian Society and ECAT Tirana and thank funders: GEF/SGP, UNEP-MAP, RAC/SPA, British Chelonia Group,J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, Spear Charitable Trust, Panton Trust and MAVA Foundation, all who supported the project. Particular thanks to Prof. Dr Idriz Haxhiu, the Patok fishers and the national authorities. The authors thank Lily Venizelos and Liza Boura who made valuable contributions to the manuscript. Protected area boundaries were provided by MAPAMED: http://medpan.org/main_activities/mapamed/.