31 January 2010

THE LONG-DISTANCE WANDERINGS OF LEATHERBACKS


I'm on a leatherback sea turtle thread at the moment—not the sole focus of DEEP BLUE HOME... but recurring characters. I love their wanderings.

Seriously cool-beans stuff is coming out of satellite tagging of these awesome creatures. Check out the track maps at the Caribbean Conservation Corporation.

You can adopt a leatherback and help fund the conservation work. I just adopted the lovely Panamanian leatherback Naya.


From the CCC website:

"NAVIGATION: In the open ocean, sea turtles encounter strong currents; they have only modest vision, they can only raise their heads several inches out of the water, and there are often no visible landmarks. Even with these limitations, sea turtles regularly navigate long distances to find the same tiny stretch of nesting beach. How they do it is one of the greatest mysteries in the animal kingdom, and finding an answer has been the focus of generations of researchers. One promising new theory on how sea turtles navigate suggests that they can detect both the angle and intensity of the earth's magnetic field. Using these two characteristics, a sea turtle may be able to determine its latitude and longitude, enabling it to navigate virtually anywhere. Early experiments seem to prove that sea turtles have the ability to detect magnetic fields. Whether they actually use this ability to navigate is the next theory being investigated."
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