Waters off the French coast in winter can be a deadly trap for small foraging turtles

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Recorded habitat boundaries of loggerhead turtles, Kemp’s ridley turtles, and green turtles suggest that stranded turtles rescued from the waters of the French Atlantic and straits of Europe may be visiting the area in search of food. Is questioned by new research.Was announced in Frontier of oceanologyAccording to satellite tracking data, some turtles may be able to return home after being rehabilitated and released to Florida in the United States or Cape Verde on the African coast, but young individuals are trapped in the area. There is a risk.

“After being rescued and released from the Atlantic coast of France, the stranded turtles, probably tracked to swim west towards their hometown, are older and more developed than those remaining in the Bay of Biscay region. “Dr. Chambeau, Philippines, said first. The author of this study is based in the La Rochelle Aquarium in France. “The turtles that remain in the area are much smaller, unable to regulate their body temperature, and become lethargic when they decrease, so they may have been trapped in the winter. Sea temperature.. “

“These findings have important implications for turtle protection,” he said, overseeing the research center. Sea turtle At the La Rochel Aquarium. “The map of their ecological range needs to be updated, and these findings will help us plan effective rehabilitation and liberation strategies for turtles rescued from the area.”

Rescue and rehabilitation

The La Rochelle Aquarium has rescued and restored more than 200 turtles from France’s East Atlantic coast over the past 40 years. To ensure that the turtles they were caring for were most likely to survive after returning to the wild, the center wanted to understand where they traveled after they were released.

“Did the turtle return to its newborn beach or stay in the Bay of Biscay area? For investigation, a small satellite transmitter was glued to the rescued turtle shell, which over the course of several months. You can track the movement, “says Dell’Amico.

“Moreover, Copernicus Marine Service To get information about the current water temperature Abundance of prey along the trajectory of the turtle. This allowed us to correlate turtle movement patterns with these marine factors, as well as turtle size and mass, “explains Dr. Philip Gaspar, co-author of a study based in Mercator Ocean, France. increase.

Is it too cold for a small turtle?

“The waters of the Bay of Biscay are particularly cold during the winter, below 10 ° C, so this area is considered to be outside the geographical range of turtles. According to our observations, turtles see this area. You may be visiting and looking for food, but it may be an ecological trap for very small turtles that can suffer from hypothermia in the colder months, “Gasper said. “Turtle body temperature is mainly controlled by the temperature of the environment and temperatures below 10 ° C.o oC is often deadly. “

The team wants more satellite tracking tortoise In this area to confirm the amazing patterns of movement they observed in this study.

“Future work also needs to be focused Gene analysis And computerized simulations of turtle movement across the ocean compare their route back to their hometown with the origin of their birth. Simulations of larval turtle dispersal from the beaches born should also be performed to assess the proportion of individuals reaching Western Europe, “Chambeau concludes.

California approves new protection for leatherback turtles

For more information:
Philippine Chambord, etc., an ecological trap or a preferred habitat? First evidence that immature sea turtles may survive at the limits of the northeastern Atlantic, Frontier of oceanology (2021). DOI: 10.3389 / fmars.2021.736604

Quote: Winter off the coast of France is a small foraging turtle (10 2021) obtained on October 26, 2021 from https: // It may be a deadly trap for (26th of March). small.html

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Waters off the French coast in winter can be a deadly trap for small foraging turtles

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