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Leatherback Turtles Hang Out In The South Pacific Gyre

Scientists are learning how leatherback turtles adapt to changes in environment.

leatherback turtle on the beach

Photo: Terry Ross (flickr)

Leatherback turtles are some of the strongest turtles on earth.

Leatherback turtles are some of the strongest turtles on earth yet their population has been reduced 90 percent over the past 20 years.

Turtle Tracking

Researchers decided to track some of the turtles that swim near the South Pacific Gyre. The South Pacific Gyre puzzled researchers because the area appeared to be desert-like.

So, why did the turtles swim there and what did they do?

There is limited information about the kind of food leatherbacks enjoy. Previous researchers were puzzled by the location. No one had ever watched the turtles eat.

Researchers believed their diet consisted mostly of gelatinous zooplankton, like jellyfish. Tracking information from the tagged turtles did support the belief the turtles enjoy jellyfish.

Fishing Damage

This research is incredibly important for commercial fishing industries. Researchers wanted to make sure fishing boats were not infiltrating areas where the turtles nest.

Fishing boats that disturb breeding grounds, migration routes, and habitats could be one reason for the leatherback’s decline.

Turtle Knowledge

This study was helpful for scientists who wanted to learn how leatherbacks adapt to a changing environment.

Read More:

  • Why leatherback turtles linger in South Pacific Gyre, and why it matters (Physorg)
Margaret Aprison

Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Telecommunications and a minor in Psychology. The daughter of two scientists, Margaret has been surrounded by the subject her entire life. She enjoys social media, writing, television, and, of course, science!

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  • Megan Hamilton

    The turtle which you call a leatherback is not a leatherback.  I live in an area where I’ve seen many sea turtles; sadly all of them dead.  I’m also a paleoartist currently writing a book on ancient and modern sea turtles. 
    The one pictured is an Olive Ridley sea turtle.  If you’re going to write a story about wild creatures, do your research.  There’s no reason why you should have goofed on this.

  • Megan Hamilton

    The turtle pictured in this story is not a leatherback sea turtle.  I am currently writing a book about ancient and modern sea turtles.  I am a paleoartist and have been a nature writer for many years.  Do your research.  The turtle pictured is an Olive Ridley sea turtle.  I live in an area where there are many species of these creatures and I have seen them myself, unfortunately only dead ones.  I am continually saddened and shocked at how little people know about nature.

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