Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 1415–1426 | Cite as

Satellite telemetry reveals behavioural plasticity in a green turtle population nesting in Sri Lanka

  • Peter Bradley Richardson
  • Annette C. Broderick
  • Michael S. Coyne
  • Lalith Ekanayake
  • Thushan Kapurusinghe
  • Chandralal Premakumara
  • Susan Ranger
  • M. M. Saman
  • Matthew J. Witt
  • Brendan J. Godley
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Supplementary material

227_2013_2194_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplemental table 1 (DOCX 18 kb)

References

  1. Allard MW, Miyamoto MM, Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Bowen BW (1994) Support for natal homing in green turtles from mitochondrial dna sequences. Copeia 1:34–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Mansi AA, Ali N, Mohammad N, Sougal AA (2003) The marine turtles in the Republic of Djibouti: their Biology and Conservation. Unpublished report for PERSGA, July 2003,p 25Google Scholar
  3. Balazs GH (1999) Factors to consider in the tagging of sea turtles. In: Eckert KL, Bjorndal KA, Abreu-Grobois FA, Donnelly M (eds) Research and management techniques for the conservation of sea turtles. IUCN/SSC marine turtle specialist group publication No. 4., pp 101–109Google Scholar
  4. Balazs GH, Ellis DM (2000) Satellite telemetry of migrant male and female green turtles breeding in the Hawaiian Islands In: Abreu-Grobois FA, Briseno-Duenas R, Marquez-Millan R, Sarti-Martinez L (comps.) Proceedings of the 18th International Sea Turtle Symposium, 3–7 March 1998, pp 281–283. US Department of Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-SEFSC-436. p 293Google Scholar
  5. Bhupathy S, Saravanan S (2006a) Status of marine turtles in the Gulf of Mannar, India. Chel Cons Biol 5(1):139–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhupathy S, Saravanan S (2006b) Status of marine turtles along the Tamil Nadu Coast, India. Kachhapa 7:7–13Google Scholar
  7. Bjorndal K (1982) The consequences of herbivory for the life history pattern of the Caribbean green turtle, Chelonia mydas. In: Bjorndal K (ed) Biology and conservation of sea turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, pp 111–116Google Scholar
  8. Bjorndal KA (1997) Foraging ecology and nutrition of sea turtles. In: Lutz P, Musick JA (eds) The biology of sea turtles. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 199–232Google Scholar
  9. Block BA (2005) Physiological ecology in the 21st century: advancements in biologging science. Integr Comp Biol 45(2):305–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blumenthal JM, Solomon JL, Bell CD, Austin TJ, Ebanks-Petrie G, Coyne MS, Broderick AC, Godley BJ (2006) Satellite tracking highlights the need for international cooperation in marine turtle management. Endanger Species Res 7:1–11Google Scholar
  11. Bowen BW, Karl SA (2007) Population genetics and phylogeography of sea turtles. Mol Ecol 16:4886–4907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bowen BW, Bass AL, Chow SM, Bostrom M, Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Okuyama T, Bolker B, Epperly S, LaCasella E, Shaver D, Dodd M, Hopkins-Murphy S, Musick JA, Swingle M, Rankin-Baransky K, Teas W, Witzell W, Dutton P (2004) Natal homing in juvenile loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta). Mol Ecol 13:3797–3808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bowen BW, Grant WS, Hillis-Starr Z, Shaver D, Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Bass AL (2007) Mixed stock analysis reveals the migrations of juvenile hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Caribbean Sea. Mol Ecol 16:49–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Broderick AC, Glen F, Godley BJ, Hays GC (2003) Variation in reproductive output of marine turtles. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 288:95–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Fuller WJ, Glen F, Godley BJ (2007) Fidelity and over-wintering of sea turtles. Proc R Soc London B 274:1533–1538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carr A, Carr MH, Meylan AB (1978) The ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 7. The west Caribbean green turtle colony. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 162:1–46Google Scholar
  17. Carrión-Cortez JA, Zárate P, Seminoff JA (2010) Feeding ecology of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in the Galapagos Islands. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 90:1005–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coppejans E, Leliaert F, Dargent O, Gunasekara R, De Clerck O (2009) Sri Lankan seaweeds—methodologies and field guide to the dominant species. ABC Taxa 6(i–viii):265Google Scholar
  19. Costa DP, Robinson PW, Arnould JPY, Harrison A-L, Simmons SE (2010) Accuracy of ARGOS locations of Pinnipeds At-Sea estimated using Fastloc GPS. PLoS One 5(1):e8677. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008677 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Coyne MS, Godley BJ (2005) Satellite tracking and analysis tool (STAT): an integrated system for archiving, analysing and mapping animal tracking data. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 301:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Silva A (2006) Marine turtles of Sri Lanka: a historical account. In: Shanker K, Choudhury BC (eds) Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, pp 324–353Google Scholar
  22. Deraniyagala PEP (1939) The tetrapod reptiles of Ceylon: vol. 1 Testudinates and Crocodilians. The Director, Colombo Museum; London, Dulau and Co. Ltd. p 412Google Scholar
  23. Ekanayake EML, Kapurusinghe T (2000) The nesting frequency of marine turtles on the Rekawa turtle rookery in southern Sri Lanka. Report of the South and Southeast Asian Regional Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum. Colombo, Sri Lanka, p 20Google Scholar
  24. Ekanayake EML, Ranawana KB, Kapurusinghe T, Premakumara MGC, Saman MM (2002) Marine turtle conservation in Rekawa turtle rookery in southern Sri Lanka. Ceylon J Sci Biol Sci 30:79–88Google Scholar
  25. Ekanayake EML, Rajakaruna RS, Kapurusinghe T, Saman MM, Rathnakumara DS, Samaraweera P, Ranawana KB (2010) Nesting behaviour of the green turtle at Kosgoda rookery, Sri Lanka. Ceylon J Sci Biol Sci 39(2):109–120Google Scholar
  26. Godley BJ, Richardson S, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Glen F, Hays GC (2002) Long-term satellite telemetry of the movements and habitat utilisation by green turtles in the Mediterranean. Ecography 25:352–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Godley BJ, Lima EHSM, Akesson S, Broderick AC, Glen F, Godfrey MH, Luschi P, Hays GC (2003) Movement patterns of green turtles in Brazilian coastal waters described by satellite tracking and flipper tagging. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 253:279–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Godley BJ, Blumenthal JM, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Godfrey MH, Hawkes LA, Witt MJ (2008) Satellite tracking of sea turtles: where have we been and where do we go next? Endanger Species Res 4:3–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Godley BJ, Barbosa C, Bruford M, Broderick AC, Catry P, Coyne MS, Formia A, Hays GC, Witt MJ (2010) Unravelling migratory connectivity in marine turtles using multiple methods. J Appl Ecol 47:769–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hatase H, Takai N, Matsuzawa Y, Sakamoto W, Omuta K, Goto K, Arai N, Fujiwara T (2002) Size-related differences in feeding habitat use of adult female loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta around Japan determined by stable isotope analyses and satellite telemetry. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 233:273–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hatase H, Sato K, Yamaguchi M, Takahashi K, Tsukamoto K (2006) Individual variation in feeding habitat use by adult female green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas): are they obligately neritic herbivores? Oecologia 149:52–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hawkes LA, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Godfrey MS, Lopez-Jurado LF, Lopez-Suarez P, Merino SE, Varo-Cruz N, Godley BJ (2006) Phenotypically linked dichotomy in sea turtle foraging requires multiple conservation approaches. Curr Biol 16:990–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hays GC, Glen F, Broderick AC, Godley BJ, Metcalfe JD (2002) Behavioural plasticity in a large marine herbivore: contrasting patterns of depth utilisation between two green turtle (Chelonia mydas) populations. Mar Biol 141:985–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hays GC, Akesson S, Broderick AC, Glen F, Godley BJ, Papi F, Luschi P (2003) Island-finding ability of marine turtles. Proc R Soc B 270:S5–S7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hays GC, Fossette S, Katselidis KA, Mariani P, Schofield G (2010) Ontogenetic development of migration: lagrangian drift trajectories suggest a new paradigm for sea turtles. J R Soc Interface 7:1319–1327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hewavisenthi S (1990) Exploitation of marine turtles in Sri Lanka: historic background and the present status. Mar Turt News 48:14–19Google Scholar
  37. Hirth HF (1997). Synopsis of the biological data on the green turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758). FWS Biological Report 97(1) Tech Report, p 120Google Scholar
  38. Jagtap TG (1991) Distribution of seagrasses along the Indian coast. Aquat Bot 40:379–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jagtap TG (1996) Some quantitative aspects of structural components of seagrass meadows from the southeast coast of India. Bot Mar 39:39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. James MC, Ottensmeyer CA, Myers RA (2005) Identification of high-use habitat and threats to leatherback sea turtles in northern waters: new directions for conservation. Ecol Lett 8:195–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kannan P (2008) Studies on the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in the Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. Indian Ocean Turt News 7:12–15Google Scholar
  42. Kapurusinghe T (2006) Status and conservation of marine turtles in Sri Lanka. In: Shanker K, Choudhury BC (eds) Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, pp 173–187Google Scholar
  43. Kapurusinghe T, Cooray R (2002) Marine turtle bycatch in Sri Lanka: report by the turtle conservation project (TCP), Sri Lanka for UNEP-CMS. p 60Google Scholar
  44. Kumaraguru AK, Joseph VE, Marimuthu N, Wilson JJ (2006) Scientific information on Gulf of Mannar: a bibliography. Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India, p 656Google Scholar
  45. Limpus CJ (1993) The green turtle, Chelonia mydas, in Queensland: breeding males in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Wildl Res 20:513–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Limpus CJ, Miller JD, Parmenter CJ, Reimer D, McLachlan N, Webb R (1992) Migration of green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles to and from eastern Australian rookeries. Wildl Res 19(3):347–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Luschi P, Hays GC, Del Seppia C, Marsh R, Papi F (1998) The navigational feats of green sea turtles migrating from Ascension Island investigated by satellite telemetry. Proc R Soc B 265:2279–2284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Luschi P, Akesson S, Broderick AC, Glen F, Godley BJ, Papi F, Hays GC (2001) Testing the navigational abilities of ocean migrants: displacement experiments on green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 50:528–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mathew CV, Gopakumar G (1986) Observations on certain environmental parameters in relation to surface tuna fishery at Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep. J Mar Biol Assoc India 28(1 & 2):163–168Google Scholar
  50. Meylan AB, Bowen BW, Avise JC (1990) A genetic test of the natal homing versus social facilitation models for green turtle migration. Science 248(4956):724–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Miller JD (1997) Reproduction in sea turtles. In: Lutz PL, Musick JA (eds) Biology of sea turtles. CRC Marine Science Series, Boca Raton, pp 51–81Google Scholar
  52. Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (2009) Fisheries Statistics Sri Lanka 2009. Online summary report by Min of Fish and Aquat Res, Goverment of Sri Lanka. www.fisheries.gov.lk. Accessed 25 Jan 2011
  53. Mortimer JA (1995) Teaching critical concepts for the conservation of sea turtles. Mar Turt News 71:1–4Google Scholar
  54. Mortimer JA (1997) On the importance of eggs. Mar Turt News 76:6–8Google Scholar
  55. Murugan A, Naganathan V (2006) A note on the green sea turtles rescued in Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu. Indian Ocean Turt News 3:10–11Google Scholar
  56. Peckham SH, Diaz DM, Walli A, Ruiz G, Crowder LB, Nichols WJ (2007) Small-scale fisheries bycatch jeopardizes endangered Pacific loggerhead turtles. PLoS One 2:e1041CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rajagopalan M, Vijayakumaran K, Vivekanandan E (2006) Marine fishery-related mortality of sea turtles in India: an overview. In: Shanker K, Choudhury BC (eds) Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, pp 227–237Google Scholar
  58. Rajasuriya A, Ohman MC, Svensson S (1998) Coral and rock reef habitats in southern Sri Lanka: patterns in the distribution of coral communities. Ambio 27(8):723–728Google Scholar
  59. Rees AF, Al Saady S, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Papathanasopoulou N, Godley BJ (2010) Behavioural polymorphism in one of the world’s largest populations of loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 418:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Saba VS, Spotila JR, Chavez FP, Musick JA (2008) Bottom-up and climatic forcing on the worldwide population of leatherback turtles. Ecology 89(5):1414–1427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schofield G, Hobson VJ, Fossette S, Lilley MKS, Katselidis KA, Hays GC (2010a) Biodiversity Research: fidelity to foraging sites, consistency of migration routes and habitat modulation of home range by sea turtles. Divers Distrib 16:840–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schofield G, Hobson VJ, Lilley MKS, Katselidis KA, Bishop CM, Brown P, Hays GC (2010b) Inter-annual variability in the home range of breeding turtles: implications for current and future conservation management. Biol Conserv 143:722–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schott F, McCreary JP (2001) The monsoon circulation of the Indian Ocean. Prog Oceanogr 51:1–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Seminoff JA, Resendiz A, Nichols WJ (2002) Home range of green turtles Chelonia mydas at a coastal foraging area in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 242:253–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Seminoff JA, Zárate P, Coyne MS, Foley DG, Parker D, Lyon B, Dutton PH (2008) Post-nesting migrations of Galapagos green turtles, Chelonia mydas, in relation to oceanographic conditions of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean: integrating satellite telemetry with remotely sensed ocean data. Endanger Species Res 4:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shanker K, Choudhury BC (2006) Marine turtles in the Indian subcontinent: a brief history. In: Shanker K, Choudhury BC (eds) Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, pp 3–16Google Scholar
  67. Shillinger GL, Palacios DM, Bailey H, Bograd SJ, Swithenbank AM (2008) Persistent leatherback turtle migrations present opportunities for conservation. PLoS Biol 6(7):e171. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060171 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tamelander J, Rajasuriya A (2008) Status of the coral reefs in South Asia: Bangladesh, Chagos, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. In: Wilkinson C (ed) Status of coral reefs of the world: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia, pp 119–130Google Scholar
  69. Thangaradjou T, Sridhar R, Senthilkumar S, Kannan S (2008) Seagrass resource assessment in the Mandapam Coast of the Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve, India. Appl Ecol Environ Res 6(1):139–146Google Scholar
  70. Tripathy B, Choudhury BC (2007) A review of sea turtle exploitation in India with special reference to Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Lakshadweep Islands of India. Indian J Trad Knowl 6(2):285–291Google Scholar
  71. Tripathy B, Shanker K, Choudhury BC (2006) Sea turtles and their habitats in the Lakshadweep Islands. In: Shanker K, Choudhury BC (eds) Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India, pp 119–136Google Scholar
  72. Troëng S, Evans DR, Harrison E, Lagueux CJ (2005) Migration of green turtles Chelonia mydas from Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Mar Biol 148:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tucker AD (2010) Nest site fidelity and clutch frequency of loggerhead turtles are better elucidated by satellite telemetry than by nocturnal tagging efforts: implications for stock estimation. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 383:48–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tucker AD, Read MA (2001) Frequency of foraging by gravid green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef. J Herpetol 35:500–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Umamaheswari R, Ramachandran S, Nobi EP (2009) Mapping the extend of seagrass meadows of Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve, India using IRS ID satellite imagery. Int J Biodiv Cons 1(5):187–193Google Scholar
  76. Untawale AG, Jagtap TG (1984) Marine macrophytes of Minicoy (Lakshadweep) coral atoll of the Arabian Sea. Aquat Bot 19(1):97–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wallace BP, Lewison RL, McDonald S, McDonald RT, Bjorkland RK, Kelez S, Kot C, Finkbeiner EM, Helmbrecht S, Crowder LB (2010) Global patterns of marine turtle bycatch in fisheries. Cons Lett 3(3):131–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Whiting SD, Murray W, Macrae I, Thorn R, Chongkin M (2008) Non-migratory breeding by isolated green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Indian Ocean: biological and conservation implications. Naturwissenschaften 95(4):355–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Witt MJ, Akesson S, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Ellick J, Formia A, Hays GC, Luschi P, Stroud S, Godley BJ (2010) Assessing accuracy and utility of satellite-tracking data using Argos-linked Fastloc-GPS. Anim Behav 80:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Witt MJ, Bonguno EA, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Formia A, Gibudi A, Mounguengui Mounguengui GA, Moussounda C, Nsafou M, Nougessono S, Parnell RJ, Sounguet GP, Verhage S, Godley BJ (2011) Tracking leatherback turtles from the world’s largest rookery: assessing threats across the South Atlantic Proc R Soc B. rspb.2010.2467v1-rspb20102467Google Scholar
  81. Worton BJ (1989) Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home-range studies. Ecology 70:164–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zbinden JA, Bearhop S, Bradshaw P, Gill B, Margaritoulis D, Newton J, Godley BJ (2011) Migratory dichotomy and associated phenotypic variation in marine turtles revealed by satellite tracking and stable isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 421:291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Bradley Richardson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Annette C. Broderick
    • 2
  • Michael S. Coyne
    • 3
  • Lalith Ekanayake
    • 4
  • Thushan Kapurusinghe
    • 4
  • Chandralal Premakumara
    • 4
  • Susan Ranger
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. M. Saman
    • 4
  • Matthew J. Witt
    • 2
  • Brendan J. Godley
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Conservation Society, Ross-on-WyeHerefordsUK
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology and ConservationUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK
  3. 3.Seaturtle.orgDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Turtle Conservation Project (TCP), PanaduraColomboSri Lanka

Personalised recommendations