Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 12, pp 3071–3086 | Cite as

Foraging habitats and migration corridors utilized by a recovering subpopulation of adult female loggerhead sea turtles: implications for conservation

  • DuBose B. Griffin
  • Sally R. Murphy
  • Michael G. Frick
  • Annette C. Broderick
  • John W. Coker
  • Michael S. Coyne
  • Mark G. Dodd
  • Matthew H. Godfrey
  • Brendan J. Godley
  • Lucy A. Hawkes
  • Thomas M. Murphy
  • Kristina L. Williams
  • Matthew J. Witt
Original Paper


From 1998 to 2008, 68 adult female loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were instrumented with platform transmitter terminals at nesting beaches in Georgia, North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC) on the East Coast of the United States of America (30°48′N, 81°28′W to 33°51′N, 77°59′W). The majority of post-nesting loggerheads (N = 42, 62 %) migrated to foraging habitats in the Mid-Atlantic Bight during May–October, with a subsequent migration occurring during November–March to foraging habitats south of Cape Hatteras, NC. Nine (13 %) loggerheads initially foraged in the near-shore, coastal areas of the South Atlantic Bight, but moved to offshore habitats—closer to the Gulf Stream—during November–March, while fourteen (21 %) loggerheads remained in foraging areas along the mid-continental shelf off of the eastern coast of Florida and/or continued southward to Florida Bay and the Bahamas. The present study delineates important, post-nesting foraging habitats and migration corridors where loggerheads may interact with commercial fisheries—providing managers opportunities to develop and implement optimally effective conservation actions for the recovery of this threatened species.


Gulf Stream Location Class North Carolina Recovery Unit South Carolina 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the USFWS Savannah Coastal Refuges, G. Garris, and S. Dawsey at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, J. Fry at Cumberland Island National Seashore, F. Hay at Sapelo Island, C. Hope, W. Cluse, and M. Spinks for providing complete project support. We would like to thank the Marine Biology journal editors for their review of our manuscript. B. Naef-Daenzer and E. Toolson provided statistical advice. C. Limpus, A. Solow, D. Cupka, J. Fauth, S. Boylan, and B. Naef-Daenzer provided valuable editorial comments. Georgia and South Carolina satellite telemetry research is funded in part by an ESA Section 6 Cooperative Agreement with NOAA Fisheries and the Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary. M.J.W. is supported by the Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy through the South West of England Regional Development Agency. A.C.B. and B.J.G. are supported by the Darwin Initiative, European Union, and the Natural Environment Research Council (UK). L.A.H. is supported through a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council post-doctoral grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • DuBose B. Griffin
    • 1
    • 11
  • Sally R. Murphy
    • 2
  • Michael G. Frick
    • 3
  • Annette C. Broderick
    • 4
  • John W. Coker
    • 5
  • Michael S. Coyne
    • 6
  • Mark G. Dodd
    • 7
  • Matthew H. Godfrey
    • 8
  • Brendan J. Godley
    • 4
  • Lucy A. Hawkes
    • 4
    • 9
  • Thomas M. Murphy
    • 2
  • Kristina L. Williams
    • 10
  • Matthew J. Witt
    • 4
  1. 1.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesMount PleasantUSA
  2. 2.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesSheldonUSA
  3. 3.Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, Department of BiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Centre for Ecology and ConservationUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK
  5. 5.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesWalterboroUSA
  7. 7.Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesBrunswickUSA
  8. 8.North Carolina Wildlife Resources CommissionBeaufortUSA
  9. 9.Brambell Laboratories, School of Biological SciencesBangor UniversityBangorUK
  10. 10.Caretta Research ProjectSavannahUSA
  11. 11.Mount PleasantUSA

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