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Oct 12, 2015 4:49 EST

Riding the mainstreams – the migration patterns of Sea Turtles

iCrowdNewswire - Oct 12, 2015

Riding the mainstreams – the migration patterns of Sea Turtles

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Introduction 

Sea turtles breed in Madagascar but spend most of their time feeding elsewhere in the Indian and Pacific Ocean, but it is unknown, which populations use which region. I plan to use stable isotopes from skin samples of turtles to reconstruct their migration routes. This data is crucial for specific conservation measures.

What is this project about?

I write my Master thesis on sea turtles in the Bay of Ranobe in Madagascar. These turtles breed in Madagascar but probably spend most of their time feeding elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. From their foraging areas, they come to Madagascar using the sea currents,like some form of “highways”.

There are several geographically distinct regions where they could feed, but it is unknown, which populations use which region. In collaboration with the NGO “ReefDoctor” I plan to use stable isotopes from skin samples of turtles to reconstruct their migration routes. You can imagine stable isotopes as some kind of geographical-chemical fingerprint, meaning the composition of elements such as carbon or nitrogen varies from area to area, which can be used to assign the foraging areas from which the Sea turtles came to Madagascar.

This data is crucial for specific conservation measures because it contributes to the decision making on which regions and routes must be better protected and offers better perspectives on where the money and work of conservation would be invested most effectively.

Here you can access the complete proposal:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d682rddwp8jdk7c/AADO_RKZvlDODkOJgQNajAcza?dl=0

What is the bigger goal?

Most of us have seen ‘Finding Nemo’ and will remember the cool sea turtles. Sadly, in reality those animals have a far less laid-back life as they are exposed to lots of anthropogenic perils. Marine pollution, climate change, fisheries, destruction of nesting beaches – those are only a few of the life-threatening dangers sea turtles have to face during their lives. To ease their migrations throughout the oceans, it is crucial to know which routes they are taking in order to help with conservation measures.

The goal of this project is to gather information about these routes and provide the relevant organisations with that data.

Why should YOU support this project

Nature conservation concerns everyone, and failure in protecting the seas now will have serious consequences for all of us in the near future. Sea turtles are not only very likable and good-natured animals; they also play an important role in their ecosystem. Through their protection, countless other species profit too, which are crucial that the fragile framework – which marine ecosystems are – does not collapse.

Furthermore, this project offers you a rare opportunity for an immediate contribution to the research of these fascinating creatures und to get a firsthand look behind the scenes of science.

What is the money used for?

The costs for laboratory analyses will be covered by Hamburg University, but I need support for the 3-month field season in Madagascar. With the money, the expenses for the flights, accommodations and equipment will be covered. Should we surpass the funding goal, the excessive money will go to the further study of sea turtles in my PhD-thesis.

Who am I working with?

The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Joerg Ganzhorn from the Zoological Institute of Hamburg University and realised in collaboration with the NGO ReefDoctor (Emma Gibbons).

Contact Information:

Chris Schantzen

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