Leatherback turtles are some of the strongest turtles on earth yet their population has been reduced 90 percent over the past 20 years.
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.
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.
This study was helpful for scientists who wanted to learn how leatherbacks adapt to a changing environment.
- Why leatherback turtles linger in South Pacific Gyre, and why it matters (Physorg)