Environmental predictors of foraging and transit behaviour in flatback turtles

Flatback turtles (Natador depressus) are endemic to northern Australia, where they nest and forage in the region's sub-tropical and tropical waters. Although it is known that these turtles migrate between foraging and nesting grounds, little is known about the cues they use to direct these migrations and the habitats that define foraging areas. This study used satellite telemetry to track the movements of 11 flatback turtles from the Lacepede Islands in the Kimberely region, and was able to identify foraging grounds and migratory pathways, as well as determine key environmental variables and habitat types that influenced the movement patterns of these animals after leaving their nesting sites. This information is important to aid in the conservation of this data-deficient species, listed as vulnerable under state (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016) and Commonwealth (EPBC Act 1999) laws.

The map below shows the home ranges of these turtles for all of the diffrent behaviours combined (nesting, foraging and migration). Alternatively, you can view maps of each behaviour separately by clicking on the links below:

Nesting Foraging Migration

For more information on this study, see Thums et al. (2017).

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