09/11/2020

Learning more about male sea turtles in the Mediterranean

There are many mysteries of sea turtles and their life in the sea remaining to be solved. An example is male sea turtles which are less studied than the females and their behavior is not well known. Do they inhabit the same habitats as those of females? To what extend do they reside in other areas that would benefit from conservation?

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ARCHELON has taken up a new challenge recently and is for the first time focusing its’ satellite tagging activity on male turtles (adults and sub-adults). We expect that, as a result, our knowledge concerning residency, arrival and departure of male turtles from breeding and foraging habitats, as well as their migration patterns, will be enriched.

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Two of the Mediterranean's most important marine turtle habitats have been selected to carry out this new activity: the breeding site of Kyparissia Bay and the foraging site of Amvrakikos Gulf. The 2020 expedition was carried out successfully in Amvrakikos last October, where our team, led by Alan Rees, tagged 3 male turtles. Satellite tags (i.e. specially designed small-sized transmitters) were attached to the carapace of the turtles and every time these turtles surface for breath, the transmitter sends a signal to an Argos satellite. Now researchers can easily follow each turtle’s movements for up to 2 years.

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Amvrakikos Gulf is an important foraging and developmental habitat for sea turtles in the Mediterranean, where ARCHELON has been tagging and monitoring sea turtles since 2002.This long term project is carried out with volunteers and uses the capture-mark-recapture of turtles to collect data on residency, longevity, growth, migrations, and health status in regard to interactions with fisheries, including deliberate injuries. The information and knowledge derived from all types of tags is contributing to the sea turtle conservation strategies and the reduction of their negative interactions with fisheries.

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Satellite tagging of male sea turtles by ARCHELON is part of the project for the “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region”, funded by MAVA FOUNDATION for the period 2020-2022.This project benefits from the participation of organizations in Greece and other Mediterranean countries with different activities.

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Do you find this fascinating? You too can follow the travels of the already tagged sea turtles on line by clicking this link:

https://archelon.gr/eng/actions10.php?mid=4&mid2=94

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