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Long-term satellite telemetry of the movements and habitat utilisation by green turtles in the Mediterranean

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There is a relative paucity of data regarding the at-sea distribution and behaviour of marine turtles. This is especially true for the critically endangered green turtle Chelonia mydas population in the Mediterranean. Six adult female green turtles were equipped with satellite transmitters and tracked for periods of between 28 and 293 d following their final nesting of the season in northern Cyprus. Data elucidated hitherto unknown migratory pathways and highlighted the importance of North African coastal waters as feeding habitat for adults of this species. For three individuals, instruments transmitted detailed information on dive depth, dive duration and water temperature which afforded novel insights into behaviour during different stages of migration, feeding in the foraging grounds and most remarkably, during a period of midwinter diapause when water temperatures were generally below 25°C. Turtles showed fidelity to specific shallow inshore feeding areas and moved offshore to deeper wintering sites.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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