Satellite telemetry reveals behavioural plasticity in a green turtle population nesting in Sri Lanka
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- Richardson, P.B., Broderick, A.C., Coyne, M.S. et al. Mar Biol (2013) 160: 1415. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2194-8
Satellite transmitters were deployed on ten green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting in Rekawa Sanctuary (RS-80.851°E 6.045°N), Sri Lanka, during 2006 and 2007 to determine inter-nesting and migratory behaviours and foraging habitats. Nine turtles subsequently nested at RS and demonstrated two inter-nesting strategies linked to the location of their residence sites. Three turtles used local shallow coastal sites within 60 km of RS during some or all of their inter-nesting periods and then returned to and settled at these sites on completion of their breeding seasons. In contrast, five individuals spent inter-nesting periods proximate to RS and then migrated to and settled at distant (>350 km) shallow coastal residence sites. Another turtle also spent inter-nesting periods proximate to RS and then migrated to a distant oceanic atoll and made forays into oceanic waters for 42 days before transmissions ceased. This behavioural plasticity informs conservation management beyond protection at the nesting beach.