Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 171–178 | Cite as

Migratory activity by hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta L.): evidence for divergence between nesting groups

  • Jeanette Wyneken
  • Sheila V. Madrak
  • Michael Salmon
  • Jerris Foote
Original Paper

Abstract

The South Florida subpopulation of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta L.) nests with great fidelity on either the southeast or the southwest coast of Florida, USA. The hatchlings that emerge from those nests must swim in opposite directions and search for different surface currents to migrate away from continental shelf waters. In this laboratory study, we compared the pattern of swimming activity shown by the hatchlings from each coast over the first 6 days of migration. Turtles from both coasts were equally active during their “frenzy” period (the first 24 h of swimming) and during the daylight hours of the 5 days that followed (the “postfrenzy” period). However, the west coast turtles were significantly more active than the east coast turtles during the nocturnal portion of the postfrenzy period. This difference may be related to the greater distance southwest coast turtles must negotiate to locate surface currents for transport out of the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic Ocean basin. These differing behavioral strategies may be genetically determined, as similar correspondence between activity and distance is well known among migratory populations of birds and fish and is often based upon inherited programs of endogenously driven activity. Alternatively, behavioral differences between the two nesting groups could be a manifestation of phenotypic plasticity that arises as the hatchlings respond to unique environmental cues on each coast.

Keywords

Gulf Stream Green Turtle Nursery Area Marine Turtle Nest Beach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Portions of this study were completed by SVM as a Masters thesis in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University. Financial support was provided by the Nelligan Fund. The study was approved by the State (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Turtle Permits No. 73 and 173) and by the University Institutional Animal Care Committee (Protocol A06-08).

References

  1. Ackerman RA (1997) The nest environment and the embryonic development of sea turtles. In: Lutz PL, JA Musick (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 83–106Google Scholar
  2. Agrawal AA (2001) Phenotypic plasticity in the interactions and evolution of species. Science 294:321–326. doi: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1060701 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Åkesson S, Hedenström A (2007) How migrants get there: migratory performance and orientation. Bioscience 57:123–133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1641/B570207 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berthold P (1988) Evolutionary aspects of migratory behavior in European warblers. J Evol Biol 1:195–209. doi: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1420-9101.1998.1030195.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berthold P (1993) Bird migration: a general survey. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Berthold P, Helbig AJ (1992) The genetics of bird migration: stimulus, timing, and direction. Ibis 134:35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berthold P, Querner U (1982) Partial migration in birds: experimental proof of polymorphism as a controlling system. Experientia 38:805. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01972282 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bjorndal KA, Meylan AB, Turner BJ (1983) Sea turtle nesting at Melbourne Beach, Florida, I. Size, growth and reproductive biology. Conservation 26:65–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(83)90049-6 Google Scholar
  9. Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Martins HR (2000) Somatic growth model of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta: duration of the pelagic stage. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 202:265–272. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps202265 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Koike B, Schroeder BA, Shaver DJ, Teas WG, Witzell WN (2001) Somatic growth function for immature loggerhead sea turtles in southeastern US waters. Fish Bull (Wash D C) 99:240–246Google Scholar
  11. Bolten AB (2003a) Variation in sea turtle life history patterns: neritic vs. oceanic developmental stages. In: Lutz PL, Musick JA (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 243–257Google Scholar
  12. Bolten AB (2003b) Active swimmers-passive drifters: the oceanic juvenile stage of loggerheads in the Atlantic system. In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington, pp 63–78Google Scholar
  13. Bolten AB, Bjorndal KA, Martins HR, Dellinger T, Biscoito MJ, Encalada SE, Bowen BW (1998) Trans-Atlantic developmental migrations of loggerhead sea turtles demonstrated by mtDNA sequence analyses. Ecol Appl 8:1–7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(1998)008[0001:TDMOLS]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bowen BW, Avise JC, Richardson JI, Meylan AB, Margaritoulis D, Hopkins-Murphy SR (1993) Population structure of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Conserv Biol 7:834–843. doi: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.1993.740834.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bowen BW, Kamezaki N, Limpus CJ, Hughes GR, Meylan AB, Avise JC (1994) Global phylogeography of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) as indicated by mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. Evol Int J Org Evol 48:1820–1828. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/2410511 Google Scholar
  16. Bowen BW, Abreu-Grobois FA, Balazs GH, Kamezaki N, Limpus CJ, Ferl RJ (1995) Trans-Pacific migrations of the loggerhead sea turtle demonstrated with mitochondrial DNA markers. Proc Natl Acad Sci 92:3731–3734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bowen BW, Bass AL, Soares L, Toonen RJ (2005) Conservation implications of complex population structure: lessons from the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). Mol Ecol 14:2389–2402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Brett JR (1995) Energetics. In: Groot C, Margolis L, Clarke WC (eds) Physiological ecology of Pacific Salmon. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp 3–68Google Scholar
  19. Broderick AC, Coyne MC, Fuller WJ, Glen F, Godley BJ (2007) Fidelity and over-wintering of sea turtles. Proc R Soc B 274:1533–1538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Burgess E, Booth D, Lanyon J (2006) Swimming performance of hatchling green turtles is affected by incubation temperature. Coral Reefs 25:341–349. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-006-0116-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Carthy RR, Foley AM, Matsuzawa Y (2003) In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, pp 144–154Google Scholar
  22. Carr AF (1962) Orientation problems in the high seas travel and terrestrial movements of marine turtles. Am Sci 50:359–374Google Scholar
  23. Carr AF (1987) New perspectives on the pelagic stage of sea turtle development. Conserv Biol 1:103–121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.1987.tb00020.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Caldwell DK (1959) The loggerhead turtles of Cape Romain, South Carolina. Bull Fla State Mus 4:319–348Google Scholar
  25. Collard S, Ogren LH (1990) Dispersal scenarios for pelagic post-hatchling sea turtles. Bull Mar Sci 47:223–243Google Scholar
  26. Crossin GT, Hinch SG, Farrell AP, Higgs DA, Lotto AG, Oakes JD, Healey MD (2004) Energetics and morphology of sockeye salmon: effects of upriver migratory distance and elevation. J Fish Biol 65:788–810. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00486.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dingle H (1996) Migration: the biology of life on the move. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Dingle H, Drake VA (2007) What is migration? Bioscience 57:113–121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1641/B570206 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Encalada SE, Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Zurita JC, Schroeder BA, Possardt E, Sears J, Bowen BW (1998) Population structure of loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting colonies in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as inferred from mitochondrial DNA control region sequences. Mar Biol (Berl) 130:567–575. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s002270050278 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (2002) Sea Turtle Conservation Guidelines Myfwc.org Tallahassee FloridaGoogle Scholar
  31. Glen F, Broderick AC, Godley BJ, Hays GC (2003) Incubation environment affects phenotype of naturally incubated green turtle hatchlings. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 83:1183–1186. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315403008464h CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gwinner E, Helm B (2003) Circannual and circadian contributions to the timing of avian migration. In: Berthold P, Gwinner E, Sonnenschein E (eds) Avian migration. Springer, Berlin, pp 81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gyory J, Mariano AJ, Ryan EH (2005) The gulf stream: ocean surface currents. http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/gulf-stream.html
  34. Gyuris E (2000) The relationship between body size and predation rates on hatchlings of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas): is bigger better? In: Pilcher NJ, Ali L (eds) Sea turtles of the Indo-Pacific. Asean Academic Press, London, pp 143–147Google Scholar
  35. He R, Weisburg RH (2003) A loop current intrusion case study on the west Florida shelf. J Phys Oceanogr 33:465–477. doi: https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0485(2003)033<0465:ALCICS>2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hendrickson JR (1980) The ecological strategies of sea turtles. Am Zool 20:597–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Healey MC, Farrell AP (2003) Behavioural physiology of fish migrations: salmon as a model approach. In: Sloman KA, Wilson RW, Balshine S (eds) Behaviour and physiology of fish. Elsevier, London, pp 239–295Google Scholar
  38. Hopkins-Murphy SR, Owens DW, Morphy TM (2003) In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, pp 79–92Google Scholar
  39. Hughes GR (1974) The sea turtles of South East Africa. II. The biology of the Tongaland loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta L. with comments on the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea L. and the green turtle Chelonia mydas L. in the study region. S Afr Assoc Mar Biol Res Investig Rep 36:1–96Google Scholar
  40. Jonsson N, Jonsson B (2003) Energy allocation among developmental stages, age groups and types of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) spawners. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 60:506–516. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/f03-042 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. LaCasella EL, Dutton PH, Epperly SP (2005) Genetic stock composition of loggerheads (Caretta caretta) encountered in the northeast Atlantic distant (NED) longline fishery using mtDNA analysis. NOAA-NMFS-SEFSC Tech Memo. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  42. Lebuff CR Jr (1990) The loggerhead turtle in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Caretta Research Inc, SanibelGoogle Scholar
  43. Laurent L et al (1998) Molecular resolution of the marine turtle stock composition in fishery bycatch: a case study in the Mediterranean. Mol Ecol 7:1529–1542. doi: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-294x.1998.00471.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Limpus CJ, Miller JD, Parmenter CJ, Reiner D, McLachian N, Webb R (1992) Migration of green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles to and from Eastern Australian rookeries. Aust J Wild Res 19:347–358. doi: https://doi.org/10.1071/WR9920347 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lohmann KJ, Lohmann CMF (2003) Orientation mechanisms of hatchling loggerheads. In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, pp 44–62Google Scholar
  46. Luschi P, Hays GC, Papi F (2003) A review of long-distance movements by marine turtles, and the possible role of ocean currents. Oikos 103:293–302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12123.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Molinari RL (1980) Current variability and its relation to sea-surface topography in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Mar Geol 3:409–436Google Scholar
  48. McClellan CM, Read AJ (2007) Complexity and variation in loggerhead sea turtle life history. Biol Lett 3:592–594. doi: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2007.0355 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Musick JA, Limpus CJ (1997) In: Lutz PL, Musick JA (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 137–159Google Scholar
  50. NOAA National Data Buoy Center (2006) October 3. Florida and eastern Gulf of Mexico Recent Marine Data. http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/Florida.shtml. Accessed 3 Dec 2006
  51. Plotkin P (1996) Occurrence and diet of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Chelonian Conserv Biol 2:78–80Google Scholar
  52. Pritchard PCH (1997) Evolution, phylogeny, and current status. In: Lutz PL, Musick JA (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 1–28Google Scholar
  53. Pulido F (2007) The genetics and evolution of avian migration. Bioscience 57:165–174. doi: https://doi.org/10.1641/B570211 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pulido F, Berthold P, van Noordwijk AJ (1996) Frequency of migrants and migratory activity are genetically correlated in a bird population: evolutionary implications. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93:14642–14647. doi: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.25.14642 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rhyther JH (1969) Photosynthesis and fish production in the sea. Science 166:72–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.166.3901.72 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stancyk SE (1982) Non-human predators of sea turtles and their control. In: Bjorndal KA (ed) Biology and conservation of sea turtles. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, pp 19–38Google Scholar
  57. Stewart KR, Wyneken J (2004) Predator risk to loggerhead hatchlings at a high-density nesting beach in Southeast Florida. Bull Mar Sci 74:325–335Google Scholar
  58. Stokes L, Wyneken J, Crowder LB, Marsh J (2006) The influence of temporal and spatial origin on size and early growth rates in captive loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the United States. Herpetol Conserv Biol 1:71–80Google Scholar
  59. Sturges W, Evans JC (1983) On the variability of the loop current in the Gulf of Mexico. J Mar Res 41:639–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taylor EB, McPhail D (1985) Variation in body morphology among British Columbia stocks of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 42:2020–2028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Waide RB et al (1999) The relationship between productivity and species richness. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 30:257–300. doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.30.1.257 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Witham R (1974) Neonate sea turtles from the stomach of a pelagic fish. Copeia 1974:548. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/1442555 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Witherington BE (2002) Ecology of neonate loggerhead turtles inhabiting lines of downwelling near a Gulf Stream front. Mar Biol (Berl) 140:843–853. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-001-0737-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wyneken J, Salmon M (1992) Frenzy and postfrenzy swimming activity in loggerhead, green, and leatherback hatchling sea turtles. Copeia 1992:478–484. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/1446208 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wyneken J, Balazs GH, Murakawa SKK, Anderson Y (1999) Size differences in hind limbs and carapaces of hatchling green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Hawaii and Florida. USA Chelonian Conserv Biol 3:491–495Google Scholar
  66. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanette Wyneken
    • 1
  • Sheila V. Madrak
    • 1
  • Michael Salmon
    • 1
  • Jerris Foote
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Sea Turtle Program, Mote Marine LaboratorySarasotaUSA
  3. 3.Parks and Recreation, Phillippe Estate ParkSarasotaUSA

Personalised recommendations