As we approach the tenth month of project transmissions, it is interesting to reflect back on just what wealth of information these turtles are providing us.
Keep in mind that not all turtles got fitted with their transmitter on the same day, so if you check out the summary of transmissions in Table I below you’ll get an idea of how long they have been up and running.
Taken across the four countries, the turtles have been transmitting for an average of 238 days each as of 8th of February 2011, or just under eight months, but that also includes the turtles which have stopped sending us signals.
Table I: Summary of transmission data from the twenty turtles tagged in April/May 2010 in the Gulf.
Note: Table shows updates as of February 2011-03-28
But what, indeed, have these turtles been telling us all these months through all these satellite transmissions? If we look back at previous updates and compare them with the most recent data, what we learn is that the turtles are very specific about staying at their foraging grounds once they reach them, and that their movements, once there, are very limited.
On average, turtles only took 48 days to reach their foraging grounds, and this includes the four turtles from Oman which travelled extensively (80 to 100 day transits), and they have spend ~80% of all the time we have tracked them at their foraging grounds. So, overall, Gulf turtles do not appear to migrate far, and when they get to where they are going, they are very good at staying put.
As the project continues and we deploy more transmitters, it will be interesting to see whether they inhabit the same areas or have new ones of their own.