Ontogenetic development of migration: Lagrangian drift trajectories suggest a new paradigm for sea turtles

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2010

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Long distance migration occurs in a wide variety of taxa including birds, insects, fishes, mammals and reptiles. Here, we provide evidence for a new paradigm for the determinants of migration destination. As adults, sea turtles show fidelity to their natal nesting areas and then at the end of the breeding season may migrate to distant foraging sites. For a major rookery in the Mediterranean, we simulated hatchling drift by releasing 288 000 numerical particles in an area close to the nesting beaches. We show that the pattern of adult dispersion from the breeding area reflects the extent of passive dispersion that would be experienced by hatchlings. Hence, the prevailing oceanography around nesting areas may be crucial to the selection of foraging sites used by adult sea turtles. This environmental forcing may allow the rapid evolution of new migration destinations if ocean currents alter with climate change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number50
Pages (from-to)1319-1327
StatePublished - 2010
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 98
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ID: 4644083