Leatherback Turtles in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico: Foraging and Migration Behavior During the Autumn and Winter
Frontiers in Marine Science
We deployed 19 satellite tags on foraging adult leatherback turtles, including 17 females and 2 males, captured in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico in 2015, 2018, and 2019 in order to study regional distribution and movements. Prior to our study, limited data were available from leatherbacks foraging in the Gulf of Mexico. Tag deployment durations ranged from 63 to 247 days and turtles exhibited three distinct behavior types: foraging, transiting, or rapidly switching between foraging and transiting. Some females were tracked to nesting beaches in the Caribbean. Most of the leatherbacks remained on and foraged along the west Florida continental shelf whereas a few individuals foraged in waters of the central Gulf of Mexico during the autumn and winter. In addition, migration of adult females through the Yucatan Channel indicate that this is a seasonally important area for Caribbean nesting assemblages.
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
foraging, Gulf of Mexico, leatherback turtle, migration, movement ecology
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Christopher R. Sasso, Paul M. Richards, Scott R. Benson, Michael Judge, Nathan F. Putman, Derke Snodgrass, and Brian A. Stacy. "Leatherback Turtles in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico: Foraging and Migration Behavior During the Autumn and Winter" Frontiers in Marine Science (2021). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.660798