Press Release: Reconnecting the Ocean: Satellite Tracking Reveals Green Sea Turtle Migrations Link Eastern Pacific Ocean Coastal Waters

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

Wallace J. Nichols
Research Associate, California Academy of Sciences +1.831.239.4877

Reconnecting the Ocean: Satellite Tracking Reveals Green Sea Turtle Migrations Link Eastern Pacific Ocean Coastal Waters

A recent publication in the journal PLOS describes two decades of Argos satellite telemetry research on green sea turtle migrations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Sea turtles traveled up to 3,000 km during the study, navigating the coastal waters of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador.
A multinational team of researchers from Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. tracked the movements of green turtles throughout one of the most productive and biodiverse ocean regions on the planet and combined their data with additional information from flipper tags, fisheries interactions, and oceanographic observations.
The scientists concluded that waters along the Pacific coast of the Americas must be safeguarded to ensure the long distance migrations of these ancient reptiles continue.
Direct hunting of the turtles for their meat, skin, and eggs as well as bycatch in a variety of fishing gears including long lines, gill nets and bottom trawls, remain the strongest threats to the endangered sea turtles.
Decades of grassroots conservation efforts are yielding early signs of success with green turtle numbers on the rise and understanding how these animals connect distant beaches, coastal ecosystems and human well-being is critical.
Hart CE, Blanco GS, Coyne MS, Delgado-Trejo C, Godley BJ, et al. (2015) Multinational Tagging Efforts Illustrate Regional Scale of Distribution and Threats for East Pacific Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii). PLoS ONE 10(2): e0116225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116225

[Photos, quotes and maps available upon request.]

The work was supported by Earthwatch Institute, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Wallace Research Foundation, PADI Foundation and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. C. E. H. received a Masters degree bursary from the University of Exeter and the European Social Fund and would like to thank Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y TecnologĂ­a (Mexico) for support through a PhD scholarship. W. J. N. was supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and a Marshall Fellowship during the period field research in Baja California was conducted. B. J. G. is supported by the Darwin Initiative, European Social Fund and The Natural Environment Research Council. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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April 28, 2015 at 1:15 PM delete

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