Satellite tagging and flipper tag recoveries reveal migration patterns and foraging distribution of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from eastern Australia

Perez, Michelle A., Limpus, Colin J., Hofmeister, Kate, Shimada, Takahiro, Strydom, Aub, Webster, Emily, and Hamann, Mark (2022) Satellite tagging and flipper tag recoveries reveal migration patterns and foraging distribution of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from eastern Australia. Marine Biology, 169. 80.

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Marine turtles encounter different threats during various life-history stages. Therefore, understanding their movements and spatial distribution is crucial for effectively managing these long-lived migratory organisms. This study combines satellite telemetry data with long-term capture-mark-recapture data derived from flipper tag studies to determine distribution patterns of endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) during post-nesting migrations from different eastern Australian nesting sites. Individuals from the K’gari-Fraser Island and Great Barrier Reef island rookeries typically migrated northward, whereas individuals from mainland rookeries migrated equally northward and southward. Despite this difference in foraging distribution, loggerheads from the different rookeries did not differ substantially in their migration duration or distance travelled. The foraging distribution identified from successful satellite tag deployments represented 50% of the foraging distribution identified from a large long-term flipper tag recovery database. However, these satellite telemetry results have identified new migration and foraging habitats not previously recognised for loggerhead turtles nesting in eastern Australia. Additionally, they support the conclusion from a past study using flipper tag recovery data that the mainland nesting turtles migrate to different foraging grounds than the turtles nesting on Great Barrier Reef islands. Collectively, the two data sources provide valuable data on the migration route, habitat distribution and ecological range for a threatened genetic stock of loggerhead turtles.

Item ID: 74886
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Keywords: Sample-size, Satellite-tagging, Fastloc-GPS, Flipper-tagging, Capture-mark-recapture, Distribution
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2022 07:53
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
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