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Insights into Habitat Utilization by Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) During the Inter-Nesting Period Using Animal-Borne Digital Cameras

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Abstract:

Abstract

Many marine turtle habitat utilization studies have historically relied on inferences from logged data or direct visual observation. Here we remotely investigate aspects of the habitat utilization of inter-nesting female green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Using an animal-borne digital video camera set to take only still images, with an integrated time-depth recorder, we recorded a total of 2,375 images and 2,899 dives for two nesting female green turtles. Both turtles spent over 80% of their time at depths of 5 m or less. Photographic evidence allowed us to categorize sub-surface behaviors from 66 of the deeper dives (turtle A with 40 dives and turtle B with 26 dives) containing more than 900 images into three categories: swimming, probable foraging and resting. Methodologically, our study highlights future utility in using camera technologies to clarify at-sea behavior of marine organisms, with a view to generating reliable time budgets.

Keywords: Digital imagery; Dive behavior; Foraging behavior; Green turtles; Mediterranean

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.43.3.4

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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