The leatherback sea turtle migrates as far as subarctic waters in pursuit of its prey. 2007), but whether this is due to increased numbers of turtles or increased sighting effort is unclear. Washington, DC 20037. As many leatherbacks utilize high-latitude foraging areas in the summer and fall before migrating south thousands of kilometers (Ferraroli et al. Pacific populations have declined over the last twenty years from overharvesting and interactions with fisheries. The data will tell us where important feeding areas are, help us understand migration patterns, and anticipate where turtles may come in contact with fisheries and their gear. Marine turtles, including leatherbacks, also provide a vital source of income as a draw for ecotourism in coastal communities, especially in the Coral Triangle. Many of us are doing our part to reduce plastic pollution by recycling and reducing single-use items, but governments must also step up to take accountability and end this pollution epidemic. Within the last several decades extensive egg collection and the killing of adult turtles in Indonesia has resulted in huge population declines throughout the region. 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Differences in departure date due to habitat quality have been observed in migrating birds (Gill et al. Leatherbacks follow their jellyfish prey throughout the day, resulting in turtles "preferring" deeper water in the daytime, and shallower water at night (when the jellyfish rise up the water column). Five turtles were tracked through 2 northern foraging seasons and 6 records were censored before migration departure was observed, resulting in a data set of 32 foraging seasons and 26 migration departures. Here we use telemetry data obtained from 27 leatherback turtles and satellite-derived environmental variables to investigate the role of environmental correlates, latitudinal and longitudinal position, and turtle body size and sex on the timing of southward migration. 2002) in some cheloniid sea turtles. The average interval is about 9 to 10 days. One-week lagged average chlorophyll and SST were held steady at their mean value for the data set (17.7 °C and 0.72 mg/m3). 2004). If you spot a leatherback turtle at sea, maintain a distance of 100m. Research on the fitness consequences of early arrival to nesting areas for both male and female turtles and the spatial and temporal distribution of gelatinous prey would provide a better context for future leatherback migration studies. This study highlights the opportunity to use satellite telemetry and environmental data to examine the cues for and timing of animal migrations and expands the study of migration timing to include a new species and environment. The Migration. View our inclusive approach to conservation. 2005; Shamoun-Baranes et al. Based on a mean swim speed for internesting leatherbacks of 0.63 m/s (Eckert 2002), this difference could be traversed in as few as 10 days, whereas the predicted difference in 50% departure times is more than a month. Hunting grounds environments where jellyfish reach sexual maturity faster and thus senesce earlier in the marine environment regional! 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