Sea turtles are migratory with nesting and foraging areas in distinct and often widely separated habitats. Telemetry has been a vital tool for tracking sea turtle migrations between these areas, but tagging efforts are often focused on only a few large rookeries in a given region. For instance, turtle tagging in the Red Sea has been focused in the north of the basin. We tagged five green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at a nesting site in the central-southern Red Sea and tracked them for 72–243 days. During the inter-nesting period, the turtles showed high site-fidelity, with a maximum home range of 161 km2. After the nesting season, the turtles migrated up to 1100 km to five distinct foraging locations in three countries (Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Eritrea). Movements within foraging habitats were more wide-ranging compared to inter-nesting movements, with home ranges varying between 1.19 and 931 km2. The tracking data revealed that the creation of a relatively small marine reserve could protect the critical inter-nesting habitat in the Farasan Banks. The results also highlight the need for multinational collaboration to protect migratory corridors and foraging sites of this endangered species.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-14
Acknowledgements: We thank Alexander Kattan, Kirsty Scott, Hailey Shchepanik, and Collin Williams for their help with satellite tagging efforts. We also thank Ute Langner and Joao Curdia for their help with statistical analyses. This work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through KAUST's Red Sea Research Center and baseline funding to MLB.
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