Tidal movements of East Pacific green turtle Chelonia mydas at a foraging area in Baja California Sur, México

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Brooks, L. B., Harvey, J. T., & Nichols, W. J. (2009). Tidal movements of East Pacific green turtle Chelonia mydas at a foraging area in Baja California Sur, México. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 386, 263-274. doi:10.3354/meps08061
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TitleTidal movements of East Pacific green turtle Chelonia mydas at a foraging area in Baja California Sur, México
AuthorsB. Brooks, T. Harvey, J. Nichols
AbstractWe tracked East Pacific green turtles Chelonia mydas using GPS-VHF telemetry in Estero Banderitas, a tidally-influenced foraging area in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, México. Tidal currents were measured with a bottom-mounted Acoustic Doppler Profiler (ADP) and the data used to predict tidal current speed and direction at the location and time during which turtles were tracked. Twenty-nine turtles were tracked in the summers of 2000 to 2003. Vagility (mean ± SD; 18.6 ± 11.4 km d-1) and speed (0.83 ± 0.47 km h-1) of turtles was the greatest so far reported for green turtles at foraging areas. Turtles displayed highly linear movements, and movement patterns were circatidal. Vector correlation was used to compare turtle speed and direction with tidal speed and direction. Correlation coefficients were significant for 11 out of 13 tracks, indicating significant linear interdependence between turtles and tides. Speed and direction contributed equally to the correlation. Results indicated a new paradigm for green turtles in feeding areas, where turtles are transported on continual tides that allow them to exploit a patchy and seasonal distribution of algae, their main diet component. This tidal transport is markedly different than Selective Tidal Stream Transport, in which animals use either the ebb or flood tide for transport. Tidal currents may be an accurate indicator of turtle movement in tidal areas, and this transport system has implications for foraging ecology, energetics, and growth. © Inter-Research 2009.
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Date2009
Volume386
Start page263
End page274
ISSN01718630
SubjectsAcoustic Doppler Current Profiler, comparative study, feeding ground, movement, tide, turtle, Baja California Sur, Mexico [North America], North America, algae, Animalia, Chelonia mydas, Testudines
NoteCited By (since 1996):8, Marine Mammals, Birds & Turtles, CODEN: MESED

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