Sea Turtle Migratory Route and Habitat Utilization Analysis
Track: Ocean, Coastal, and Marine Resources
Author(s): Michelle Kinzel
Satellite transmitters were attached to two green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at Campamento Tortugero in Lechuguillas, Veracruz, Mexico. The tagging and satellite tracking commenced on August 20 and September 20, 2000. Two adult female turtles were captured following the deposition of their egg clutch and transported to base camp to be fitted with transmitters. Telonics ST-18 transmitters, programmed with a duty cycle of six hour transmission periods followed by 18-hour passive cycles, were attached to the second central scutes of the two sexually mature female turtles. The turtles' movements were monitored and mapped as reported by the latitude and longitude readings from the Service ARGOS Satellite System. The data points were interpreted and plotted using Animal Movement, an ArcView 3.2 extension. By employing GIS, an analysis of the movement patterns and habitat utilization was possible. Both turtles traveled from their nesting beach in Mexico to feeding grounds off the coast of Florida to an area called Tortugas Bank. The GIS plots have been analyzed to determine travel routes, feeding ground locations, and habitat usage models for the two tagged turtles. This study elucidates the habitat utilization of this migratory population of green turtles.
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