Intra-Mediterranean migrations of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) monitored by satellite telemetry
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The movements of four Mediterranean loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta; three females, one male) were tracked via satellite telemetry for between 108 and 457 days. Total length of the routes traveled by the turtles varied between 2554 and 7098 km, and the average travel rate was 1.2 km h–1. Long-distance movement between the western and eastern Mediterranean basins followed a seasonal pattern and seemed to be triggered by temperature and food availability. In the autumn/winter months turtles moved from west to east in search of warmer waters, and returned to the western basin in spring, where food resources are generally more plentiful. Three (two females, one male) of the four turtles migrated eastward through the Straits of Messina, which is characterized by high fishing pressure and intense boat traffic. Information about turtle migration patterns and routes will serve to plan effective conservation strategies.
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