Successful deployment of satellite tags on marine turtles in Greece, Turkey and North Cyprus

Mid-June 2018, ARCHELON in Greece, WWF in Turkey and the University of Exeter and SPOT in Cyprus started a new, exciting project, funded by MAVA. In Kyparissia Bay in Greece (Western Peloponese), Akyatan (near Adana in Turkey) and in several locations in Cyprus, satellite tags were deployed on almost 40 sea turtles (loggerhead and green turtles) in order to investigate their movements at sea between each nesting effort as well as their movements after their nesting is completed for the season. Data from satellite tags are also expected to give some indication about their migrations towards overwintering and foraging habitats. This knowledge will, in turn, be used to design better management strategies for their conservation and reduction of negative interaction with fisheries.

How does the satellite tag work? We all know that female sea turtles are emerging from the sea to nest during night hours. Right after nesting is completed, trained scientists attach a specially designed small-sized transmitter to the carapace of the sea turtle. As the turtle surfaces for breath or comes completely out of the water, the transmitter sends a signal to an Argos satellite and this is how researchers can easily follow the turtle’s movements.

Besides tags, these female sea turtles were also given names. In Greece, seven of them were named after ancient Greek mythological figures: Elaia, Neda, Polymnia, Posidonia, Thalassa, Thalia, Thetis. The remaining two were named Μaja and Vera, which are also the names of two of Dr Luc Hoffmann’s daughters. In Turkey, two of them were named MAVA.

The movements of the nine loggerhead sea turtles tagged by ARCHELON can be followed here and of the 20 marine turtles tagged by the University of Exeter and SPOT here.

Ensuring the most important turtle nesting sites in the Mediterranean basin are well-managed is one of MAVA’s priorities in the region. Read more here.

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