A study published in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface has revealed new insights into the navigational strategies of sea turtles during their pre-reproductive migration.
Using data from 25 juvenile loggerhead turtles, researchers have uncovered a remarkable map and compass strategy not previously seen in this turtle species.
This novel strategy involves straight-line swimming at a steady speed of about 0.5 meters per second, interspersed with occasional course corrections.
What makes this discovery even more significant is the methodology used: The researchers considered three-dimensional ocean currents, rather than the more commonly used surface current approach.
This novel approach reveals a common, cross-species, open-ocean navigation mechanism and highlights the crucial role of diving behavior in understanding the spatial ecology of sea turtles.
Sea turtles navigate oceans using their internal map-and-compass orienteering abilities.
Combining tracking data from 25 late-juvenile loggerhead turtles migrating from Reunion Island in the Pacific Ocean with 3D models of ocean currents, researchers have mapped for the first time how the turtles combine straight-line swimming with occasional course corrections to account for ocean currents.
This strategy, hypothesized in green and hawksbill turtles, may be a common ocean-navigation mechanism across all turtle species.
Antoine Laforge et al, Uncovering loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) navigation strategy in the open ocean through the consideration of their diving behaviour, Journal of The Royal Society Interface (2023). DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2023.0383
The Royal Society
Tagged turtles and 3D ocean current maps reveal loggerheads’ navigation mechanisms (2023, December 13)
retrieved 13 December 2023
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