Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 5, pp 1605–1614 | Cite as

The relationship between loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) movement patterns and Mediterranean currents

  • F. BentivegnaEmail author
  • F. Valentino
  • P. Falco
  • E. Zambianchi
  • S. Hochscheid
Research Article

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), monitored by satellite telemetry, complete long-distance migration between the western and eastern Mediterranean basins following a seasonal pattern. This study investigated if these migration routes may be influenced by surface currents by superimposing the tracks of three loggerhead turtles (curved carapace length >55 cm), migrating from the western to the eastern Mediterranean basin, on Lagrangian data of current developed into pseudo-eulerian speed fields. The average travel speed of the turtles was 1.6 km h−1 and did not depend on the current speed or direction. We observed a connection between surface currents and the turtles’ migration routes, although not a conclusive one. These observations show that neritic stage loggerhead turtles conduct migration in two distinct alternate phases: the first characterized by high and constant speed of travel both when swimming with or against currents and the second typified by low travel speeds and a good concurrence between the trailed routes and the course of the currents. These two phases corresponded to two types of movements, one where the turtle migrates actively to reach a specific destination (either neritic foraging, wintering or nesting ground) and the other, where the turtle drifts with the mesoscale current and forages pelagically. It seemed thus, that the influence of currents on a turtle’s movements depends on the turtle’s momentary behaviour and location of residence.

Keywords

Travel Speed Green Turtle Loggerhead Turtle Nest Ground Drifter Trajectory 
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

We are grateful to Gianfranco Mazza for his help with the tracking of turtles and we acknowledge use of the freely available GMT software (Wessel and Smith 1991) for graphics in this paper. We would also like to thank two anonymous referees whose comments helped to improve an earlier version of the manuscript.

References

  1. Akesson S (1996) Geomagnetic map used for long-distance navigation? Trends Ecol Evol 11:398–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauer S, Swenson MS, Griffa A (1998) Eddy-mean flow decomposition and eddy-diffusivity estimates in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Part 1: Methodology. J Geophys Res 103:30855–30871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bellucci A, Buffoni G, Griffa A, Zambianchi E (2001) Estimation of residence time in semi-enclosed basins with steady flows. Dyn Atmos Oceans 33:201–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bentivegna F (2002) Intra-Mediterranean migrations of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) monitored by satellite telemetry. Mar Biol 141:795–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Béranger K, Mortier L, Crépon M (2004) Seasonal variability of water transport through the Straits of Gibraltar, Sicily and Corsica, derived from a high-resolution model of the Mediterranean circulation. Prog Oceanogr 66:341–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bjorndal KA (1985) Nutritional ecology of sea turtles. Copeia 1985:736–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolten AB (2003) Variation in sea turtle life history patterns: neritic vs. oceanic developmental stages. In: Lutz PL, Musick JA, Wyneken J (eds) The biology of sea turtles, vol II. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 243–257Google Scholar
  8. Buffoni G, Falco P, Griffa A, Zambianchi E (1997) Dispersion processes and residence times in a semi-enclosed basin with recirculating gyres: an application to the Tyrrhenian Sea. J Geophys Res 102:18682–18699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buongiorno-Nardelli B, Sparnocchia S, Santoleri R (2001) Small mesoscale features at a meandering upper ocean front in the western Ionian Sea (Mediterranean Sea): vertical motion and potential vorticity analysis. J Phys Oceanogr 31:2227–2250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buskey EJ (1984) Swimming pattern as an indicator of the roles of copepod sensory systems in the recognition of food. Mar Biol 79:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carr A (1965) The navigation of the green turtle. Sci Am 212:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carr A (1987) New perspectives on the pelagic stage of sea turtle development. Conserv Biol 1:103–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis RE (1985) Drifter observations of coastal surface currents during CODE: the method and descriptive view. J Geophys Res 90:4741–4755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Falco P, Griffa A, Poulain P-M, Zambianchi E (2000) Transport properties in the Adriatic Sea as deduced from drifter data. J Phys Oceanogr 30:2055–2071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Godley BJ, Broderick AC, Glen F, Hays GC (2003) Post-nesting movements and submergence patterns of loggerhead marine turtles in the Mediterranean assessed by satellite tracking. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 287:119–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grilli F, Pinardi N (1998) The computation of Rossby radii of deformation for the Mediterranean Sea. MTP News 6:4Google Scholar
  17. Hansen DV, Poulain P-M (1996) Quality control and interpolation of WOCE/TOGA drifter data. J Atmos Oceanic Technol 13:900–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hays GC, Marsh R (1997) Estimating the age of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles in the North Atlantic. Can J Zool 75:40–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hays GC, Åkesson S, Godley BJ, Luschi P, Santidrian P (2001) The implications of location accuracy for the interpretation of satellite-tracking data. Anim Behav 61:1035–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hochscheid S, Bentivegna F, Hays GC (2005) First records of dive durations for a hibernating sea turtle. Biol Lett 1:82–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Korres G, Pinardi N, Lascaratos A (2000) The ocean response to low frequency interannual atmospheric variability in the Mediterranean Sea. Part I: sensitivity experiments and energy analysis. J Phys Oceanogr 30:705–731Google Scholar
  22. La Violette PE (ed) (1994) Seasonal and interannual variability of the western Mediterranean Sea. American Geophysical UnionGoogle Scholar
  23. Leaman KD (1990) Physical oceanographic measurement techniques at sea. In: Le Mehaute B, Hanes DM (eds) The sea, vol 9. Part B. Wiley, New York, pp 1163–1192Google Scholar
  24. Lermusiaux PFJ, Robinson AR (2001) Features of dominant mesoscale variability, circulation patterns and dynamics in the Strait of Sicily. Deep Sea Res 9:1953–1997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lohman KJ, Lohmann CMF, Ehrhart LM, Bagley DA, Swing T (2004) Geomagnetic map used in sea-turtle navigation. Nature 428:909–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Luschi P, Hays GC, del Seppia C, Marsh R, Papi F (1998) The navigational feats of green turtles migrating from Ascension Island investigated by satellite telemetry. Proc R Soc Lond B 265:2279–2284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Luschi P, Hays GC, Papi F (2003a) A review of long-distance movements by marine turtles, and the possible role of ocean currents. Oikos 103:293–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Luschi P, Sale A, Mencacci R, Hughes GR, Lutjeharms JRE, Papi F (2003b) Current transport of leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in the ocean. Proc R Soc Lond B. DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0036Google Scholar
  29. Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Robinson AR (eds) (1994) Ocean processes in climate dynamics: global and Mediterranean examples. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  30. Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Manca BB, Ribera D'Alcala M, Theocharis A, Bergamasco A, Bregant D, Budillon G, Civitarese G, Georgopoulos D, Michelato A, Sansone E, Scarazzato P, Souvermezoglou E (1997) A synthesis of the Ionian Sea hydrography, circulation and water mass pathways during POEM Phase I. Progress in Oceanography 39(3):153–204 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Margaritoulis D, Argano R, Baran I, Bentivegna F, Bradai MN, Camiñas JA, Casale P, De Metrio G, Demetropoulos A, Gerosa G, Godley BJ, Haddoud DA, Houghton J, Laurent L, Lazar B (2003) Loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean sea: present knowledge and conservation perspectives. In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington, pp 175–198Google Scholar
  32. Marullo S, Santoleri R, Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Bergamasco A (1999) The sea surface temperature field in the eastern Mediterranean from AVHRR data. Part I: Seasonal variability. J Mar Syst 20:63–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Musick JA, Limpus CJ (1997) Habitat utilisation and migration in juvenile sea turtles. In: Lutz PL, Musick JA (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 137–164Google Scholar
  34. Nichols WJ, Resendiz A, Seminoff JA, Resendiz B (2000) Transpacific migration of a loggerhead turtle monitored by satellite telemetry. Bull Mar Sci 67:937–947Google Scholar
  35. Niiler PP, Davis RE, White HJ (1987) Water-following characteristics of a mixed-layer drifter. Deep Sea Res 34:1867–1881CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Niiler PP, Sybrandy AS, Bi K, Poulain P-M, Bitterman D (1995) Measurements of the water-following capability of holey-sock and TRISTAR drifters. Deep Sea Res 42:1951–1964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Niiler PP, Maximenko NA, McWilliams JC (2004) Dynamically balanced absolute sea level of the global ocean derived from near-surface velocity observations. Geophys Res Lett 30:2164Google Scholar
  38. Ohlmann JC, Niiler PP, Fox CA, Leben RR (2001) Eddy energy and shelf interactions in the Gulf of Mexico. J Geophys Res 106:2605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Papi F, Luschi P (1996) Pinpointing ‘isla meta’: the case of sea turtles and albatrosses. J Exp Biol 199:65–71PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Pedlosky J (1979) Geophysical fluid dynamics. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Polovina JJ, Kobayashi DR, Parker DM, Seki MP, Balazs GH (2000) Turtles on the edge: movement of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) along oceanic fronts, spanning longline fishing grounds in the central North Pacific, 1997–1998. Fish Oceanogr 9:71–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Polovina JJ, Howell E, Parker DM, Balazs GH (2003) Dive-depth distribution of loggerhead (Carretta carretta) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles in the central North Pacific: might deep longline sets catch fewer turtles? Fish Bull 101:189–193Google Scholar
  43. Poulain P-M (2001) Adriatic Sea surface circulation as derived from drifter data between 1990 and 1999. J Mar Syst 29:3–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poulain P-M, Zambianchi E (2006) Near-surface circulation in the central Mediterranean Sea as deduced from Lagrangian drifters in the 1990’s. Cont Shelf Res (in press)Google Scholar
  45. Poulain P-M, Barbanti R, Cecco R, Fayos C, Mauri E, Ursella L, Zanasca P (2004) Mediterranean surface drifter database: 2 June 1986 to 11 November 1999. Technical report 78/2004/OGA/31, OGS, Trieste, Italy (CD-ROM and http://www.poseidon.ogs.trieste.it/drifter/database_med)
  46. Rio M-H, Hernandez F (2003) A mean dynamic topography computed over the world ocean from altimetry, in situ measurements, and a geoid model. J Geophys Res 109:C12032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Robinson AR, Sellschopp J, Warn-Varnas A, Leslie WG, Lozano CJ, Haley PJ Jr, Anderson LA, Lermusiaux PFJ (1999) The Atlantic ionian stream. J Mar Syst 20:129–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Uttieri M, Mazzocchi MG, Nihongi A, Ribera d’Alcalà M, Strickler JR, Zambianchi E (2004) Lagrangian description of zooplankton swimming trajectories. J Plankton Res 26:99–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Uttieri M, Zambianchi E, Mazzocchi MG, Strickler JR (2005) Fractal characterization of three-dimensional zooplankton swimming trajectories. Ecol Model 185:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wessel P, Smith WHF (1991) Free software helps map and display data. EOS Trans AGU 72:445–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Bentivegna
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Valentino
    • 1
  • P. Falco
    • 2
  • E. Zambianchi
    • 2
  • S. Hochscheid
    • 1
  1. 1.Stazione Zoologica Anton DohrnNaplesItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze per l’AmbienteUniversità “Parthenope”NaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations