Satellite Tracking Reveals Foraging Areas for Green Turtles Nesting at Rose Atoll

Kyle Van Houtan and T. Todd Jones of the PIFSC Marine Turtle Assessment Program (MTAP) have analyzed satellite tracking data for two green turtles tagged and released in 2012 after nesting in the Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, American Samoa. After completing their nesting at Rose, both turtles travelled to foraging grounds off Upolu, Samoa where they have remained for several months. The two new tracks add to a growing database for green turtles nesting at Rose which collectively show that the nesters travel to (and presumably return from) Samoa, French Polynesia, and Fiji. The turtle research at Rose Atoll is part of a collaboration between MTAP and partners in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.

Rose Atoll NWR is considered a significant nesting area for marine turtles in the South Pacific. MTAP will be returning to American Samoa in 2013 to tag hawksbill and green turtles in-water and on their nesting beaches.

Satellite tracks from two green turtles leaving Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, American Samoa. The turtles were tagged after 
        nesting on Rose Island in September 2012. Twenty years ago, other green turtles were tagged after nesting at Rose, producing 7 
        tracks. Of those turtles, 6 turtles travelled to Fiji and 1 went in the opposite direction towards Tahiti. The turtles currently 
        being tracked are both in Upolu, Samoa. Though they may move away from Upolu to other destinations, they have been foraging locally 
        (within a 5 km2 area) for more than 100 days.
Satellite tracks from two green turtles leaving Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, American Samoa. The turtles were tagged after nesting on Rose Island in September 2012. Twenty years ago, other green turtles were tagged after nesting at Rose, producing 7 tracks. Of those turtles, 6 turtles travelled to Fiji and 1 went in the opposite direction towards Tahiti. The turtles currently being tracked are both in Upolu, Samoa. Though they may move away from Upolu to other destinations, they have been foraging locally (within a 5 km2 area) for more than 100 days.