Green sea turtles went out into the open ocean immediately after hatching on the Florida coast, and appeared to have disappeared with a spell – now, new tracking data shows that after surfing the Gulf Stream north, many turtles have dropped. From the stream to enter Sargasso Sea, an oasis of cozy seaweed and plenty of food
In the new study, published Tuesday (May 4) in the journal Operation of the Royal Society BScientists tagged solar-powered satellites with 21 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydasThe young turtle weighs only 10.5 ounces (300 grams) and its shell is 5 to 7 inches (12 to 18.6 centimeters) long. Such tiny creatures pose great challenges, both because of their initial size and the fact that they grow and change shape relatively quickly compared to adult animals.
Despite obstacles But to protect the sea better turtle Population “We really need to get tags about these kids,”; said first author Kate Mansfield, director of the sea turtle research group and associate professor in the biology department at Central Florida University. The migration of young turtles to the open ocean is often referred to as the “lost year” as scientists know little about what these animals get before they return to the coast as “teenagers”.
Related: Top 10 Most Amazing Animal Journeys
“Sea turtles generally haven’t reached maturity for at least a few decades, and over the years as they mature, we don’t know a lot about them,” Mansfield said. Now thanks to the tracking information. “The Sargasso Sea is becoming an important habitat for sea turtles in their early life,” indicating the area is critical to the conservation of the species.
The adventures of the toddler turtle
The Sargasso Sea was named after the free-floating brown genus. Seaweed Called SarkassamIt is the only sea bordered by ocean currents rather than by land boundaries. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) .The sea is located within the so-called Northern Atlantic Subtropical Gyre, which is a large circle consisting of four major ocean currents: the Gulf current to the west, the North Atlantic current to the north, the Canary Current to the west. East and the equator of the North Atlantic Now to the south.
In past studies, researchers have spotted young green sea turtles, as well as the idiot (Caretta) Passively drift through these currents, often on the mat. SarkassamMansfield said. These observations, as well as the Florida-born turtle sighting in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, suggest that the turtles may circle a large circus before heading back to the United States as a juvenile.
But Mansfield and her colleagues want to gain clear evidence of this migration while determining the length of time the turtles typically remain offshore. They have been apart for a year. “Or have they been out for a decade? This is a pretty basic question,” said study author Jeanette Wyneken, a professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University.
A satellite tag designed for adult turtles. It “looks like a brick,” the size of a cell phone, Mansfield said. But with a small tag about the length of an inch section, the team was able to start tracking the tiny turtles, she said. They started with the boob and tagged 17 turtles. In a 2014 study, they found that instead of going downstream. Float on and off, idiot people often leave the stream to swim to warm, nutrient-dense waters, including in the Sargasso Sea, they report in the journal. Operation of the Royal Society B.
Green sea turtles might be similarly keen swimmers when they reached the open sea, so the thinking team began to repeat their studies with C. Mydas Hatch
The team gathered the mullacks from Boca Raton on Florida’s southeast coast and then brought them back to the lab to leave for several months. Although the team’s satellite tag is small But it was still too big for the newly hatched turtle, Mansfield said. Initially, the team tried to tag it using the same glue used for the woodcutter, a type of acrylic for manicures, which It eventually peels off as the animal grows.
“But that didn’t work for the green turtles,” Mansfield said. The texture of the light green turtle shell gives a feeling. The team tried to use a variety of adhesives that were used in dental fillings, which are used to secure prosthetics. To the skin, you name it before you find something that attaches to a slippery turtle.
That ends up being a marine polyurethane sealant, typically used to seal ships. The glue is flexible enough to stretch as the turtle grows. But when the turtle reaches a certain size, it will come off immediately.
After ensuring the glue was safe and sticky enough, the team released their turtles into the western Atlantic Ocean and followed them for an average of 66 days.They were able to track multiple turtles for over 100 days and one for 152 days. He found that most of their turtles were swimming close to the surface of the ocean, similar to the goon, and also along the coast along the Gulf Stream. Usually, however, turtles drop out of the Gulf Stream and adjacent North Atlantic currents faster than fools do.
About two-thirds of these green sea turtles then go high tails to the Sargasso Sea, where they stay until their tags cease to deliver. This implies that Sargasso serves as an interesting nursery for turtles.
“Habitat makes sense,” Mansfield said. The seaweed camouflages young turtles while slowing down the flow of water and allowing sunlight to reach its surface. Sea turtles are cold-blooded animals requiring warm water to survive, and their growth slows noticeably when the weather gets too cold. Other young marine animals such as shrimp, crab and fish also grow in Sarkassam And provide food for growing turtles
But while a handful of juvenile sea turtles flock to Sargasso, the question remains why some of them swim in the sea while others remain in the tide, Mansfield said. May be linked to the fact that the quantity of Sarkassam And distribution across the US East varies seasonally, according to a 2011 study. International Journal of Remote Sensing.
So while some turtles meet Sarkassam In the Gulf Stream and follow into the Sargasso Sea. “There may be some people who have missed that. Sarkassam Take a cruise and hang out in the water Mansfield said.
And when the turtles reached the Sargasso Sea, there was another question: How long do they last?
“I guess the animals were probably there for a couple of years,” Wyneken said, but that was “real speculation,” she added. “If you’re in a safe place, why leave it?” Mansfield said, echoing Wyneken’s sentiments. Green sea turtles generally return to Florida as a child and remain in coastal habitats to adulthood, eating algae. Sea and jellyfish Until they reach that crucial turning point, the Sargasso Sea will likely fill many toddlers’ needs.
But to find out how long they remain in kelp habitats, scientists will need more tracking data, Mansfield said.Now that they have tracked the turtles on their way to Sargasso, the team may have been searching for the turtles. Who already live there and attach a tag to them in place No matter how long the turtles live, the Sargasso appears to be a prime habitat for young animals. To make sure the turtles grow to lay their own eggs in the future, she said the sea must be conserved.
“The Sargasso Sea could no longer become a litter, it has to be recognized as an important habitat for unspoiled organisms,” Wyneken said. “It may not be just about green turtles.” Because other juvenile sea creatures also grow among the algae, she added.
Originally published in Live Science.