Caretta caretta

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Scientific Name
Caretta caretta
Common Name
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Taxa Group
Move Mode

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  • Data package
    Data from: Study "Satellite Tracking of Oceanic Loggerhead Turtles in the Mediterranean"
    (2020-11-23) Hochscheid, Sandra
    Mechanisms that determine how, where, and when ontogenetic habitat shifts occur are mostly unknown in wild populations. Differences in size and environmental characteristics of ontogenetic habitats can lead to differences in movement patterns, behavior, habitat use, and spatial distributions across individuals of the same species. Knowledge of juvenile loggerhead turtles' dispersal, movements, and habitat use is largely unknown, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Satellite relay data loggers were used to monitor movements, diving behavior, and water temperature of eleven large juvenile loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) deliberately caught in an oceanic habitat in the Mediterranean Sea. Hidden Markov models were used over 4,430 spatial locations to quantify the different activities performed by each individual: transit, low‐, and high‐intensity diving. Model results were then analyzed in relation to water temperature, bathymetry, and distance to the coast. The hidden Markov model differentiated between bouts of area‐restricted search as low‐ and high‐intensity diving, and transit movements. The turtles foraged in deep oceanic waters within 60 km from the coast as well as above 140 km from the coast. They used an average area of 194,802 km2, where most individuals used the deepest part of the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea with the highest seamounts, while only two switched to neritic foraging showing plasticity in foraging strategies among turtles of similar age classes. The foraging distribution of large juvenile loggerhead turtles, including some which were of the minimum size of adults, in the Tyrrhenian Sea is mainly concentrated in a relatively small oceanic area with predictable mesoscale oceanographic features, despite the proximity of suitable neritic foraging habitats. Our study highlights the importance of collecting high‐resolution data about species distribution and behavior across different spatio‐temporal scales and life stages for implementing conservation and dynamic ocean management actions.
  • Data package
    Data from: Latitudinal cline in the ratio of foraging dichotomy in the North Pacific population of loggerhead turtles revealed a priority conservation area
    (2022-12-22) Okuyama, Junichi; Watabe, Akemi; Takuma, Shunichi; Tanaka, Kentaro; Shirai, Kotaro; Murakami-Sugihara, Naoko; Arita, Mamiko; Fujita, Kento; Nishizawa, Hideaki; Narazaki, Tomoko; Yamashita, Yoshiya; Kameda, Kazunari
    Aim: Quantifying the importance of habitat areas for conservation of highly migratory marine species with complex life histories can be challenging. For example loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) nesting in Japan forage both oceanically and neritically after their reproductive period. Here, we aimed to quantify the proportions of turtles using these two contrasting habitats (foraging dichotomy) to suggest priority conservation areas. Location: North Pacific Ocean. Methods: We examined the occurrence of foraging dichotomy at three nesting sites (Ishigaki, Okinoerabu Islands and Ichinomiya) based on stable isotope analysis of the egg yolks for 82 turtles and satellite tracking of post-nesting migration for 12 turtles. Moreover, we used the data of three other sites from previous studies (Yakushima Island, Minabe and Omaezaki). Results: Two neritic foraging grounds (East China Sea and the coastal area of the Japanese archipelago), and an oceanic ground (North Pacific Ocean) were identified. We found a latitudinal cline with respect to the occurrence of foraging dichotomy; >84% of the females nesting at southern sites (Ishigaki and Okinoerabu Islands), 73% at middle sites (Yakushima Island and Minabe) and <46% at northern sites (Omaezaki and Ichinomiya) were neritic foragers; the proportion of oceanic foragers increased at northern sites. Based on the annual number of nests in the entire nesting region of Japan, satellite tracking and the latitudinal cline of foraging dichotomy, we estimated that 70% and 9% of annual nesting females in Japan utilize the neritic foraging habitat in the East China Sea and the coastal area of the Japanese archipelago, respectively, and that and 22% utilize the oceanic habitat of the North Pacific Ocean. Main conclusions: The East China Sea represents a critical foraging habitat for the North Pacific populations of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Our findings emphasize the need for international management to ensure their protection.