Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 1, pp 101–112 | Cite as

Distributional patterns of adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA during and after a major annual breeding aggregation

  • Michael D. Arendt
  • Albert L. Segars
  • Julia I. Byrd
  • Jessica Boynton
  • J. David Whitaker
  • Lindsey Parker
  • David W. Owens
  • Gaëlle Blanvillain
  • Joseph M. Quattro
  • Mark A. Roberts
Original Paper


Satellite transmitters were attached to 25 reproductively active and four inactive adult male loggerhead sea turtles (86.6–107.0 cm SCLmin) captured from the Port Canaveral, FL, USA shipping channel to assess horizontal and vertical distributions. During the breeding period, male loggerheads aggregated (44% of 755 turtle days) in a 117.6 km2 core area that encompassed the shipping channel. Median dive duration during the breeding period was 27 min (IQR = 15–42 min) and males spent 4% (IQR = 3–5%) of the time at the surface, with significantly shorter dives associated with reproductively active males. Migrant and resident males dispersed concurrently, with residents shifting > 30 km east across the continental shelf over a more protracted departure schedule than migrants. Dive duration and time spent at the surface increased through the fall. Cluster analysis revealed the strongest association for dive duration with sea state during and after the breeding period, with significantly longer dives during more turbulent conditions. In contrast, univariate associations with surface interval duration were not elucidated.



Crucial field support was provided by Milliken Seafood, Cape Canaveral Seafood, C. Storts (Atlantic Animal Clinic) and L. Liguori, M. Higgins and J. Dickey at the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. We thank the following for assistance in their “backyard”: B. Schroeder and S. Epperly (National Marine Fisheries Service, NMFS); A. Meylan, A. Foley, B. Witherington, T. Hirama and C. Eaton (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FWC); L. Ehrhart and D. Bagley (University of Central Florida, UCF). K. Mazzarella (Mote Marine Laboratory), D. Griffin (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, SCDNR), J. Keller (National Institute of Standards and Technology), K. Thorvalson (South Carolina Aquarium), and A.M. Lee and D. Stanford contributed long hours in the field. J. Schwenter (SCDNR), S. Hopkins-Murphy (SCDNR, retired), K. Mansfield (NMFS), B. Godley (University of Exeter), S. Ceriani (UCF), and anonymous reviewers provided critical edits to this manuscript. Funding was provided by NOAA grant NA03NMF4720281 and managed by J. Brown (NMFS) and E. Heyward (SCDNR). Research was authorized by Section 10(a)(1)(A) permit #1540 and Florida Marine Turtle Permit #163, and we thank P. Opay and K. Swails (NMFS) and R. Trindell and M. Koperski (FWC) for their support. This manuscript is contribution #685 of the Marine Resources Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and #375 of the College of Charleston, Grice Marine Biology Laboratory.

Supplementary material

227_2011_1793_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Arendt
    • 1
  • Albert L. Segars
    • 1
  • Julia I. Byrd
    • 1
  • Jessica Boynton
    • 1
  • J. David Whitaker
    • 1
  • Lindsey Parker
    • 2
  • David W. Owens
    • 3
  • Gaëlle Blanvillain
    • 3
  • Joseph M. Quattro
    • 4
  • Mark A. Roberts
    • 4
  1. 1.Marine Resources DivisionSouth Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Marine Extension ServiceUniversity of GeorgiaBrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Grice Marine LaboratoryCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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