Should we stay or should we go?

Adult green turtles really like to spend time at the Virgin Islands, and why not? There’s sun, clear water, nesting beaches and seagrass.

640px-green_sea_turtle_grazing_seagrass

Photo: By P.Lindgren – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27611674

We tagged some of the nesting females on Buck Island, a small island off the bigger island of St. Croix. These satellite-tags beamed location data to space and then back to our computers, where we saw that some of these turtles migrated away after nesting – in typical sea turtle fashion – and some stuck around. In fact, 7 of the 10 we tagged stayed in shallow, near-shore waters around St. Croix and Buck Island, while only 3 made long-distance migrations.

This was the first time green turtles from this area (considered a unique management unit) were shown to have this limited migration. It’s important for natural resource managers in the area to know about these movements – or lack thereof – so they can effectively design their management strategies.

So why do some stay and some go? Well, what do you think?

Check out the full article below:

Hart KM, AR Iverson, AM Benscoter, I Fujisaki, MS Cherkiss, C Pollock, I Lundgren, Z Hillis-Starr. 2017.  Resident areas and migrations of female green turtles nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Endangered Species Research 32:89-101. doi: 10.3354/esr00793

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