Juvenile Hawaiian Green Turtles Tracked in Pelagic Habitat using Satellite Tags

Although much is known about Hawaiian green turtles residing in nearshore habitats, there is a dearth of information about the turtles during the post-hatchling and early juvenile period of their life when they are living exclusively in the open ocean. To help fill this data gap, PIFSC researchers Irene Nurzia-Humburg, Chad Yoshinaga, and Sheri Saari recently released 16 small Hawaiian green turtles into oceanic waters from the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette about 70 miles northwest of Kauai. The juvenile turtles were born and reared at Sea Life Park, on Oahu, during the summer of 2008, the offspring of captive breeding stock. A pair of Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags was inserted into each turtle to ensure its long-term individual identification and recognition by researchers during subsequent encounters. Satellite tags were also placed on the back of three of the turtles which had been reared during the past year at the PIFSC Kewalo Research Facility (KRF). Transmissions from the satellite tags provide information on the turtle's location over time and are anticipated to yield useful and near-immediate information on the movements of the turtles and their foraging behaviors during their life on the high seas, where green turtles of this small size live naturally.