Study finds Loggerhead turtles depend on broader range of habitat than previously thought
A new US Geological Survey study suggests that the threatened loggerhead sea turtle may require broader habitat protection during the nesting season.
"This is the first study to locate and quantify in-water habitat use by female loggerheads in the Northern Gulf of Mexico subpopulation during their reproductive periods," said lead author Kristen Hart, a USGS research ecologist. "Our tracking results show they depend on a much broader range of habitat during this critical part of their lives than was previously thought to be required."
The study reveals detailed loggerhead movements during “inter-nesting” periods, showing patterns that vary for individual turtles. Generally, this period begins when a female returns from open seas around May and lasts roughly until September. Up until now, efforts to protect the species generally centered on beaches with high nesting activity under the assumption that once turtles had nested on those beaches, they either remained in their immediate vicinity or migrated back out to sea.
Satellite data and researchers observations confirm that the loggerheads nest at multiple beaches and sometimes these beaches are hundreds of miles apart.
"These data show it is not sufficient to just protect habitat around high density nesting beaches … because many turtles that nest on the Peninsula use the entire region from the eastern Florida Panhandle to Louisiana," said Lamont.
"We are working towards defining areas where sea turtles concentrate their activities at sea, effectively building a map of in-water turtle hotspots," said Hart. "The more we know about their habitat use, the more questions are raised about their behavior and ability to adapt."
Because they spend so much time in remote waters, and don’t survive in captivity, great white sharks are deeply mysterious creatures. But over the last ten years, biologists have been able to track them using electronic tags which record their position and depth, and the ocean temperature.
On the face of it, that information can’t tell you what the sharks are actually doing. But Salvador Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, and colleagues have developed a new statistical analysis that picks out patterns of behaviour from the tagging data.
It seems to confirm earlier suggestions that the sharks have a breeding ground in the east Pacific. What’s more, it suggests that the males go there to show off side-by-side in front of the choosy females – cattle-market style.
If you want to be an ecologist, then you need a degree, but if you really feel that you aren’t going to make it, there are plenty of other ways to have a career that makes a difference. Conservation is extremely wide-ranging and it’s not longer a field dominated by scientists. You need other skills as well:
- people skills
- management skills
… too many to list, but my advice is look for some volunteer programmes near you, and be a sponge and soak everything in. It will help you define where and how you can get to where you want to be. Experience is far FAR more valuable than a degree. Unfortunately it’s the standard way to start a career, but by no means is it the only way… Good luck!!
The gift that keeps on giving: Whale Fall
Whale falls were “discovered” in the 1980’s, and have since been recognized as extremely important events for deep sea communities. The carcass creates a localized ecosystem that can last for decades, supporting hundreds of species.
I left my last job for a myriad of reasons, and it was the right thing to do. However, watching this awesome new company video made by sexy.action.planet makes me nostalgic beyond words!
At the end of the day, it really was an awesome job!
You can see me taking pictures of a Chameleon Anglehead with my iPhone (forgot my camera) and kicking ass with an Orang Asli blow pipe!
Antarctic king crabs (Neolithodes yaldwyni) warming up to invade continental shelf, threatening unique marine community
Stephen Tung (special to Mongabay)
Dangerous and disruptive king crabs lurk in a deep pocket of the Antarctic continental shelf, clamoring to escape their cold-water prison to reach and permanently change the shallower, prehistoric paradise above.
The marine communities on the underwater shelf above Palmer Deep are unique, Aronson said. “It’s much more reminiscent of the Paleozoic era before all those shell-crushing crabs and bony fish and bottom-feeding sharks and rays evolved,” he said. “The bottom communities in Antarctica are anachronisms. They’re a window to the past. They’re going to get modernized when these crabs show up.”