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Satellite tracking reveals unusual diving characteristics for a marine reptile, the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea

McMahon, Clive R., Bradshaw, Corey J. A. and Hays, Graeme C. (2007). Satellite tracking reveals unusual diving characteristics for a marine reptile, the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea. Marine Ecology: Progress Series,329:239-252.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 29 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Satellite tracking reveals unusual diving characteristics for a marine reptile, the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea
Author McMahon, Clive R.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Hays, Graeme C.
Journal Name Marine Ecology: Progress Series
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 329
ISSN 0171-8630   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33846949000
Start Page 239
End Page 252
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Field of Research 0406 - Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The movements, diving behaviour and thermal environment occupied by 4 adult female olive ridley turtles Lepidochelys olivacea in northern Australia were determined through satellite telemetry. Patterns of behaviour recorded were rather unusual compared to other sea turtles in that dives were mainly deep, largely benthic and exceptionally long (> 2 h) in some cases, characteristics typical of over-wintering turtles in colder environments. One individual occupied shallow coastal foraging zones, while the others foraged far from land (probably on the seabed) in relatively deep water (> 100 m). Individuals performed long dives (frequently > 100 min), but from the short post-dive intervals we suggest that these dives were mainly aerobic. Maximum dive depth recorded was 200 +/- 20 m (mean maximum depths ranged from 20.1 to 46.7 m across individuals; n = 17 328 dives in total; depths >= 3 m were considered 'dives') and the maximum duration was 200 20 min (mean durations ranged from 24.5 to 48.0 min across individuals). Temperature profiles indicate that turtles experienced temperatures ranging from 23 to 29 degrees C at the surface, with the lowest temperature recorded (18.7 degrees C) at a depth of 98 m. Only 6.9% of the dives were in water < 20 degrees C. From time-allocation at depth (TAD) scores, we demonstrated that many dives reaching the known or inferred sea bottom were U-shaped, but there was no apparent diel signal in dive depth. This suggests that many benthic dives were not associated exclusively with resting behaviour and likely had a foraging component as well. The ability to perform long benthic dives allows this species to exploit deeper benthic environments in addition to the shallow coastal areas more generally occupied by adult hard-shelled sea turtles (e.g. green and hawksbill turtles). Deep benthic dives also occur in certain marine mammals (e.g. narwhals) and sea birds (e.g. rockhopper penguins) and therefore seem to be a general foraging strategy exploited by animals that can perform long dives.
Keywords Aerobic metabolism
Benthic diving
Foraging strategy
Habitat selection
Movement
Northern Australia
Satellite-relayed data loggers
Temperature profiles
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps329239   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes Copyright by Inter-Research – McMahon, Clive R., Bradshaw, Corey J.A., Hays, Graeme C. - Satellite tracking reveals unusual diving characteristics for a marine reptile, the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea – MEPS 329:239-252 (2007) - http://www.intres.com/abstracts/meps/v329/p239-252/


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