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Open-sea migration of magnetically disturbed sea turtles

Papi, F; Luschi, P; Åkesson, Susanne LU ; Capogrossi, S and Hays, G C (2000) In Journal of Experimental Biology 203(22). p.3435-3443
Abstract
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) that shuttle between their Brazilian feeding grounds and nesting beaches at Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are a paradigmatic case of long-distance oceanic migrants. It has been suggested that they calculate their position and the direction of their target areas by using the inclination and intensity of the earths magnetic field. To test this hypothesis, we tracked, by satellite, green turtles during their postnesting migration from Ascension Island to the Brazilian coast more than 2000 km away. Seven turtles were each fitted with six powerful static magnets attached in such a way as to produce variable artificial fields around the turtle that made reliance on a geomagnetic map... (More)
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) that shuttle between their Brazilian feeding grounds and nesting beaches at Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are a paradigmatic case of long-distance oceanic migrants. It has been suggested that they calculate their position and the direction of their target areas by using the inclination and intensity of the earths magnetic field. To test this hypothesis, we tracked, by satellite, green turtles during their postnesting migration from Ascension Island to the Brazilian coast more than 2000 km away. Seven turtles were each fitted with six powerful static magnets attached in such a way as to produce variable artificial fields around the turtle that made reliance on a geomagnetic map impossible. The reconstructed courses were very similar to those of eight turtles without magnets that were tracked over the same period and in the previous year, and no differences between magnetically disrupted and untreated turtles were found as regards navigational performance and course straightness. These findings show that magnetic cues are not essential to turtles making the return trip to the Brazilian coast. The navigational mechanisms used by these turtles remain enigmatic. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
203
issue
22
pages
3435 - 3443
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000165720900007
  • scopus:0034537946
ISSN
1477-9145
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
517ba9de-4684-4746-8ad1-cfbd0284fc21 (old id 131284)
alternative location
http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/203/22/3435
date added to LUP
2007-06-26 11:13:21
date last changed
2017-07-02 03:32:10
@article{517ba9de-4684-4746-8ad1-cfbd0284fc21,
  abstract     = {Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) that shuttle between their Brazilian feeding grounds and nesting beaches at Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are a paradigmatic case of long-distance oceanic migrants. It has been suggested that they calculate their position and the direction of their target areas by using the inclination and intensity of the earths magnetic field. To test this hypothesis, we tracked, by satellite, green turtles during their postnesting migration from Ascension Island to the Brazilian coast more than 2000 km away. Seven turtles were each fitted with six powerful static magnets attached in such a way as to produce variable artificial fields around the turtle that made reliance on a geomagnetic map impossible. The reconstructed courses were very similar to those of eight turtles without magnets that were tracked over the same period and in the previous year, and no differences between magnetically disrupted and untreated turtles were found as regards navigational performance and course straightness. These findings show that magnetic cues are not essential to turtles making the return trip to the Brazilian coast. The navigational mechanisms used by these turtles remain enigmatic.},
  author       = {Papi, F and Luschi, P and Åkesson, Susanne and Capogrossi, S and Hays, G C},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {22},
  pages        = {3435--3443},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Open-sea migration of magnetically disturbed sea turtles},
  volume       = {203},
  year         = {2000},
}