Oryx



Short Communication

Post-nesting migrations of loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta from Georgia, USA: conservation implications for a genetically distinct subpopulation


Pamela T. Plotkin a1c1 and James R. Spotila a2
a1 East Tennessee State University, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Johnson City, TN 37614, USA
a2 Drexel University, School of Environmental Science, Engineering and Policy, Nesbitt Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Abstract

The loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta is listed as threatened with extinction on the US Endangered Species Act. Those loggerhead turtles that nest on US beaches from North Carolina to north-east Florida are a genetically distinct subpopulation. This subpopulation is small, and may be declining. To obtain information about the migratory pathways of these turtles we tracked post-nesting movements of five females by satellite from their nesting beach at Wassaw Island, Georgia. Four turtles migrated north of the nesting beach, of which three moved to coastal waters of mid Atlantic states (total distances of 157–1,458 km). Efforts to reduce mortality of northern subpopulations of loggerhead turtles need to focus on identifying and reducing threats in north-east US waters.

(Received November 14 2001)
(Revised May 9 2002)
(Accepted June 14 2002)


Key Words: Caretta caretta; Georgia; loggerhead turtle; migration; telemetry; USA.

Correspondence:
c1 East Tennessee State University, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Johnson City, TN 37614, USA. E-mail: plotkin@mail.etsu.edu


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