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Young Loggerhead Sea Turtles Spend Lost Years Floating in Seaweed

Young Loggerhead Sea Turtles Spend Lost Years Floating in Seaweed
By John Virata
March 5, 2014

Where do baby loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) spend their youth? Previously, not a lot was known about young loggerheads except for the fact that very few survive into adulthood. The general notion was the young turtles swam around the Atlantic, drifting with the North Atlantic Subtropical gyre and that opportunistic offshore sightings or lab-based studies made up the bulk of what was known of the turtles during their “lost years.”

A new study published March 4 in the Proceedings of The Royal Society B has provided more comprehensive data than what was previously available. The researchers conducted a fairly detailed study of where young sea turtles go during their “lost years” and have determined that after loggerhead sea turtles hatch, those that escape land-based predators as well as ocean-based predators spend the vast bulk of their “lost years” drifting with Sargassum seaweed patches.

Researchers Katherine L. Mansfield (Department of Biology, University of Central Florida), Jeanette Wyneken (Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University), Warren P. Porter (Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin at Madison), and Jiangang Luo (Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami) wanted to find out where baby loggerheads went in the vast Atlantic Ocean and set about tracking, with solar-powered satellite transmitters that measured such details as distance and ambient temperature, 17 neonate turtles across hundreds to thousands of miles of ocean.

The team tracked the reptiles… Read entire article here.