At last! Satellites track the ‘missing years’ of American turtles’ migration

New insights have been gained into the “lost years” of loggerhead turtles.

Tiny satellite tags have tracked months-old animals in the uncertain period when they leave US coastal waters and head out into the wider Atlantic Ocean.

The data suggests the loggerheads can spend quite some time in the Sargasso Sea, possibly living in amongst floating mats of sargassum seaweed.

The observations are reported in a journal of the Royal Society.

“This has been a fun study because the data suggest the turtles are doing something a little bit unexpected to what everyone had assumed over the past few decades, and it boils down to having the right technology to be able to follow the animals,” said lead author Dr Kate Mansfield from University of Central Florida, Orlando….

But by using flexible mounts and preparation techniques usually found in a manicurist’s salon, Dr Mansfield’s team got the tags to stay on the animals’ shells for up to 220 days.

And it is with this new data that the scientists can see the young turtles dropping out of the gyre’s predominant currents into the middle of the Atlantic – into what is often referred to as the Sargasso Sea….

Read the full and fascinating article from the BBC.

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