Researchers from the University of Central Florida are using a new technique to track loggerhead turtles.
Their method, which is just as effective as satellite tracking, involves linking chemical signatures of the turtles’ diets and water to their migratory routes.
The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is a 13 mile beach, home to the second largest population of loggerheads in the world, but the number of loggerhead nests has been steadily declining since 2000.
Loggerheads spend 99 percent of their time in the water and return to beaches only to nest once every two or three years, which is why it is particularly important to protect their nesting grounds.
The new technique could help conservationists and managers better protect nesting grounds, migration routes and foraging grounds.
“By combining isotope research with satellite tracking technology, we are learning exciting information about loggerhead sea turtles,” said Daniel R. Evans, a research specialist at the Sea Turtle Conservancy and co-author of the research paper. “This research helps scientists and conservation managers identify key feeding areas for loggerhead turtles and helps direct policy and regulations that protect sea turtles in these specific areas.”