Where Sea Turtles Spend Their ‘Lost Years’
ERIK STOKSTAD | Science NOW
Now, researchers have published the first satellite tracking data from young sea turtles, charting a leisurely voyage under the sun. The youngsters idly float north along the Gulf Stream, then head toward the Azores. Along the way, they spend most of their time riding the waves, and the sun helps raise their body temperature. “The data from this handful of turtles could lead to some really important developments” in understanding turtle populations, says Nathan Putman, a turtle biologist at Oregon State University, Corvallis.
The early life of loggerheads and other sea turtles used to be called “the lost years,” because no one knew exactly where they went. But over decades, researchers pieced together the animals’ natural history from ship observations, the pattern of ocean currents, and other data. More recently, other scientists have studied isotopes from turtle tissue to analyze their diet and past locations and created computer simulations of their journey. The basic picture is this: Hatchlings head out to sea to avoid fish, sharks, and other predators. Once off the continental shelf, they eventually end up in a current, called the North Atlantic subtropical g. A few years later, they come back to their birthplaces on the East Coast of the United States.
The transmitters survived between 27 and 220 days, during which some turtles roamed as far as 4300 kilometers, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. As expected, the turtles all headed north with the Gulf Stream, then most turned eastward around Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The paths were consistent with what Putman’s computer models had predicted. The turtles weren’t single-mindedly heading toward the Azores, but looping around in small eddies and trying to avoid the coldest water. They also spent almost all of their time on the surface, and Mansfield suspects that this is to help stay warm. “It’s kind of a common sense thing,” Mansfield says. (They may also be waiting to develop the lung capacity for diving.)
Drone films superpod of Dolphins, and Whales
Start your Monday right.
Baby Black Ribbon Moray Eel
There are over 200 species of Moray eels. Worldwide, not one of them had been successfully bred until recently. At Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn in Austria, a Black Ribbon Moray laid a clutch of fertilized eggs. This fact alone is quite a sensation. But it gets better: some larvae even hatched!
"It is the first time that the hatching of Morays could be observed. Up to now, nobody knew what the larvae look like, what they eat and how they behave“, explains the zoo’s director Dagmar Schratter.
The breeding of Morays is completely new territory. The successful event in Schönbrunn Zoo supplies the first information - completely unknown up to now - about the development of their eggs and larvae.
No matter your age, you would want to show how you stand above other applicants. Previous work with the aquarium is a big plus, highlight that, and close contacts can always be asked to put a good word in.
Generally, show them your positive traits, rather than spell it out. I.e.” I am a passionate individual” … any one can write that, but if you prove it with all the extra curricular work that you’ve done, it’s much harder to contest.
Good luck! Sounds awesome!
Statistics. Though, I’m going to be honest, there’s no way 18 year old me would have taken it even if I told her it would save her so much trouble. She’s pretty stubborn.
Don’t apologise. Don’t stop asking questions.
I studied in the UK so I’m not so familiar with the system of majors and minors, but I struggle to think why environmental studies wouldn’t set you up to specialise in marine biology. However, I’m definitely not the person to ask. That would be the admissions team of the graduate programme. It’s likely that they’ll have a list of entry requirements.
My only (rhetorical) question is, if you already know what you love doing the most, why do you want more, but less satisfying, options?
I never heard anyone say “there are no jobs for Vets”, the others… well it depends. You can really do so much with a biology degree. You may want to work as a scientist, or an environmental consultant, or for environmental government departments. There are plenty of NGOs out there that need passionate people with lots of different skills.
You might want to take the skills you learn into an entirely different sector. Many of the technical skills you learn in a science degree are still applicable in other industries - ‘transferable skills’.
I suggest looking at the job search websites. This will give you an idea of the scale of employment out there and the requirements for each of those job.
It has long been said that it is a fine line between love and hate. When you feel passionate about someone or something it has the capacity to lift you up and bring you down, so so down.
So I sit here, in El Nido, on Valentines Day, and I declare that I have a love/hate relationship with my job. But to be honest I think this is pretty standard for everyone. It does not mean I ever want to quit or change careers. It just means that sometimes, I hate it. However, the scales are well and truly tipped in the favour of Love. The hate lasts mere moments. To mean, this balance is job satisfaction, and I have oodles of it.
Conservation is not glamorous work (previous ZEPs will tell you that never has anyone sweated so much as us in our Green Fins shirts), and there isn’t a continous cycle of feeling rewarded for the good you hope you are doing. The corporate world will still look down on you for the hippie-tree fish-hugging work that you do. The economy doesn’t value the worth of your industry (or you wouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to get funding). People will refuse to listen to science and logic for the long-term benefit of their business, and you know, their planet. You will cry, more than once. You will throw your hands up and ‘give up’ more than once. You will question your choices, your commitment, your passion, yourself. These are just some of those ‘hate’ moments I was talking about.
There will be many, they will be harsh and they will completely pale in comparison to those ‘love’ moments. Here are some of the moments of the past year that have swept me off my feet:
1) Moalboal Dive Guide Seminar
Anyone who follows this blog would have seen my blog post on this and known that I came out of that event on a serious professional high. It was amazing to get the public and private sectors in the same room in the first place. It was magic to hear them voice their concerns, normally directed at third parties, to each other. To see bridges mended, explanations given. To see tempers flare and die down with understanding. And the not only see, but be part of, a change in attitude towards each other. Whether it lasts and is built upon only time will tell, but regardless, it was a special afternoon.
2. Unexpected beach clean up outreach
After Sharon’s highly successful beach and reef clean up we were all hanging around waiting for the elusive dump truck to collect our spoils. Two young Moalboalano girls started hanging around our group. The fact that the ZEPs attrack attention from the local communities is no surprise and we tried to offer them some of the snacks we had for the clean-up participants. The girls took the snacks but refused to eat them, mumbling something in Cebuano that I (shamefully) couldn’t understand. After a few minutes of hopeless encouragement for them to start eating, they pointed at the bags of rubbish. I tried to explain what we had been doing and they nodded in understanding and asked for a bag. They wanted to help to earn their snacks! I took them to the beach and they ran around checking if each piece of rubbish was the correct thing to take. “Ate Sam! Ate Sam! What about this? What about this“. They weren’t our target audience for the clean up, but it just goes to show how a public event can reach out so much further than you intended.
3. Training National Government Partners to be Green Fins coordinators
5. CITES 2013
This wasn’t an event I was directly involved in, but I appreciated it as a huge step forward for marine conservation, shark conservation in particular. We were at an inception meeting with representatives from UNEP, IUCN and the Maldivian and Vietnamese national partners for Green Fins. It was an intense few days that saw me frantically taking minutes for the first time in my life. Definitely job satisfaction in hindsight. The meeting was during the 16th CITES Convention of Parties and several elasmobranch species were up for protection after several highly successful public campaigns and years of hard work from elasmobranch scientists and conservationists. On every break I was scrolling through the live commentary from attendees on Twitter, and every (it ended up being all) successful listings brought on skipped heartbeats. Marine conservation issues are largely overlooked by these big international conventions and it felt like an exciting insight into the future.
6. Birthday 2013
I spent my birthday on a glorious day off in Aninuan, diving our favourite spot with JJ, Wai and Meg (ex-ZEPs and Reef-World interns; we missed you Chloe!). I made some time for my hammock and having drinks on the beach under the most incredible blanket of stars (before falling asleep like the party people that we are). I was in a beautiful (warm) place, with some of my favourite people doing some of my favourite things. Moments like this continually affirm my life choices, and my pursuit of this line of work, despite those ‘hate moments’ and the other struggles that come hand-in-hand.
2014 has already proved incredible rewarding for the whole team, and it’s only set up to get better. The ocean may not have been my first love, but it is, and always will be, my last.
Crowd-funding is the coolest new way to fund science research. I even got an email through coral-list about it this morning.
JR here is looking into the sex of (critically endangered) sea bass. The funds will pay for a data-logging hydrophone (underwater camera) that costs $6000 + and is crucial for the research.
Put good out in the world, you never know when you’ll need it in return. And who doesn’t want to know more about Giant Fish Sex?
My latest post as a guest blogger at biology-online.org