Loggerhead Turtle Background Information
The relevance and the purpose of this research
project is to study the migration patterns of the loggerhead turtle in
order to better understand why they migrate and the factors involved.
One useful application of this data is to become more aware of ways to
preserve the loggerhead turtle’s natural habitat to get them off the
endangered list, and to keep them from becoming extinct. Turtle
tracking data for this research project was extracted from WhaleNet. WhaleNet
uses a satellite telemetry transmitter typically about the size of a
sony walkman, which is attached to the back of an adult or juvenile sea
turtle. The transmitter is attached level to the turtle’s carapace,
behind the head of the turtle. This supports the flexible antenna to
break the surface so the transmitter can track the turtles when it comes
up for breath. A passing Argos satellite receives the data and
transmits the data back to researchers. Once 8-10 months passes, the
transmitter discontinues working and finally falls safely off the
turtle. WhaleNet is an award winning, interactive website that focuses
on marine research. It has sections for
teachers and the rest of the public that lead to a list of resources
that are appropriate for each group.
On July 28, 1978 the loggerhead species was
announced as being threatened mammals. Recent evidence has suggested that
females that are nesting in Georgia and South Carolina are declining.
Strangely, the number of females in Florida appears to remain constant. To
remedy the situation, on January 14, 2002 the National Marine Fisheries
Services received a petition to consider the loggerhead turtle population as
endangered and to be given a critical habitat.
Recent surveys conducted by NMFS indicate a noticeable increase
over the last twenty-five years in the South Florida subpopulation.
Loggerhead turtles take roughly twenty to thirty years to mature, but the
effects of a decrease in immature turtles in some cases aren’t apparent
nesting beaches for decades. As a result, nesting trends for loggerhead
turtles are declining every year. Like many mammals the threat of costal
development, commercial fisheries, and pollution play an important role in
the decline of loggerhead turtles.
Loggerhead turtles (adults and sub adults) have “reddish-brown”
carapace. Their hard bony exoskeleton covers the head and thorax of the
crustacean. Scales can be found on the top and sides of the head. Flippers
are also reddish brown and outlined in yellow. An average adult can reach
lengths of 92