Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry

Michele Thums, Scott Whiting, Julia Reisser, Kellie Pendoley, Chari Pattiaratchi, Robert Harcourt, Clive McMahon, Mark G Meekan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Understanding the movements of turtle hatchings is essential for improved understanding of dispersal behaviour and ultimately survivorship, life history strategies and population connectivity. Yet investigation of in-water movement has been hampered by the small size of hatchlings relative to the size of available tracking technologies. This has resulted in the use of labour intensive visual tracking methods, or active tracking methods with high transmitter to body weight ratios. These methods are confounded by the presence of the observer, the size of the tag, usual small treatment sample sizes and studies that are constrained to daylight hours when turtles hatch predominantly at night. Passive acoustic monitoring using new miniature tags can overcome these limitations.We tested the effectiveness of active and passive acoustic tracking in monitoring turtle hatchling movement in order to measure the influence of artificial light on newly hatched turtles once they enter the water. A Vemco VR2W Positioning System (VPS) comprising an array of 18 VR2W receivers was deployed in the surf zone to detect signals from acoustic-coded transmitters (1.14 � 0.06% of body mass) attached to 26 flatback turtle hatchlings released into the array. A total of 1328 detections were recorded for 22 hatchlings with turtles spending a mean of 16.63 � 5.89. min in the array. The test detection range for this technology in the surf-zone was 50-100. m and was influenced by wave noise and shallow deployment. Cyclonic conditions hampered the experiment and resulted in an inconclusive test of light effects. Three additional instrumented flatback hatchlings were followed in a small boat using a mobile acoustic receiver and directional hydrophone up to 2. km from shore. Passive acoustic monitoring is a viable technology for tracking small marine animals and removes many of the confounding effects of other telemetry methods. It has great potential to examine natural and anthropogenic factors influencing orientation and behaviour during a crucial stage in turtle life history - their initial movement from the beach through predator-rich, near shore waters. While the data obtained by passive acoustic monitoring is limited in its spatio-temporal coverage, being constrained by the size of the array, active acoustic tracking can be applied over larger scales. Such studies will be particularly important for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic pressures that have changed the natural light, noise or wave environments and for providing behavioural data to improve and validate bio-physical models of the migration and dispersal of young turtles. � 2012 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)156-163
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
    Volume440
    Issue numberFebruary
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Fingerprint

    sea turtles
    telemetry
    turtle
    turtles
    acoustics
    surf zone
    monitoring
    life history
    light effect
    dispersal behavior
    positioning system
    application coverage
    hydrophone
    sea
    physical models
    boats
    survivorship
    methodology
    water
    body mass

    Cite this

    Thums, M., Whiting, S., Reisser, J., Pendoley, K., Pattiaratchi, C., Harcourt, R., ... Meekan, M. G. (2013). Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 440(February), 156-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2012.12.006
    Thums, Michele ; Whiting, Scott ; Reisser, Julia ; Pendoley, Kellie ; Pattiaratchi, Chari ; Harcourt, Robert ; McMahon, Clive ; Meekan, Mark G. / Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry. In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 2013 ; Vol. 440, No. February. pp. 156-163.
    @article{9dd8007e9adb43f6ae39fb62e10cd6b6,
    title = "Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry",
    abstract = "Understanding the movements of turtle hatchings is essential for improved understanding of dispersal behaviour and ultimately survivorship, life history strategies and population connectivity. Yet investigation of in-water movement has been hampered by the small size of hatchlings relative to the size of available tracking technologies. This has resulted in the use of labour intensive visual tracking methods, or active tracking methods with high transmitter to body weight ratios. These methods are confounded by the presence of the observer, the size of the tag, usual small treatment sample sizes and studies that are constrained to daylight hours when turtles hatch predominantly at night. Passive acoustic monitoring using new miniature tags can overcome these limitations.We tested the effectiveness of active and passive acoustic tracking in monitoring turtle hatchling movement in order to measure the influence of artificial light on newly hatched turtles once they enter the water. A Vemco VR2W Positioning System (VPS) comprising an array of 18 VR2W receivers was deployed in the surf zone to detect signals from acoustic-coded transmitters (1.14 � 0.06{\%} of body mass) attached to 26 flatback turtle hatchlings released into the array. A total of 1328 detections were recorded for 22 hatchlings with turtles spending a mean of 16.63 � 5.89. min in the array. The test detection range for this technology in the surf-zone was 50-100. m and was influenced by wave noise and shallow deployment. Cyclonic conditions hampered the experiment and resulted in an inconclusive test of light effects. Three additional instrumented flatback hatchlings were followed in a small boat using a mobile acoustic receiver and directional hydrophone up to 2. km from shore. Passive acoustic monitoring is a viable technology for tracking small marine animals and removes many of the confounding effects of other telemetry methods. It has great potential to examine natural and anthropogenic factors influencing orientation and behaviour during a crucial stage in turtle life history - their initial movement from the beach through predator-rich, near shore waters. While the data obtained by passive acoustic monitoring is limited in its spatio-temporal coverage, being constrained by the size of the array, active acoustic tracking can be applied over larger scales. Such studies will be particularly important for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic pressures that have changed the natural light, noise or wave environments and for providing behavioural data to improve and validate bio-physical models of the migration and dispersal of young turtles. � 2012 Elsevier B.V.",
    keywords = "acoustic method, anthropogenic effect, biophysics, body size, connectivity, dispersal, environmental factor, life history trait, light effect, model validation, movement, positioning system, surf zone, survivorship, telemetry, tracking, turtle, young population, Animalia, Cheloniidae, Natator, Testudines",
    author = "Michele Thums and Scott Whiting and Julia Reisser and Kellie Pendoley and Chari Pattiaratchi and Robert Harcourt and Clive McMahon and Meekan, {Mark G}",
    year = "2013",
    doi = "10.1016/j.jembe.2012.12.006",
    language = "English",
    volume = "440",
    pages = "156--163",
    journal = "Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology",
    issn = "0022-0981",
    publisher = "Elsevier",
    number = "February",

    }

    Thums, M, Whiting, S, Reisser, J, Pendoley, K, Pattiaratchi, C, Harcourt, R, McMahon, C & Meekan, MG 2013, 'Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 440, no. February, pp. 156-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2012.12.006

    Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry. / Thums, Michele; Whiting, Scott; Reisser, Julia; Pendoley, Kellie; Pattiaratchi, Chari; Harcourt, Robert; McMahon, Clive; Meekan, Mark G.

    In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 440, No. February, 2013, p. 156-163.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Tracking sea turtle hatchlings - A pilot study using acoustic telemetry

    AU - Thums, Michele

    AU - Whiting, Scott

    AU - Reisser, Julia

    AU - Pendoley, Kellie

    AU - Pattiaratchi, Chari

    AU - Harcourt, Robert

    AU - McMahon, Clive

    AU - Meekan, Mark G

    PY - 2013

    Y1 - 2013

    N2 - Understanding the movements of turtle hatchings is essential for improved understanding of dispersal behaviour and ultimately survivorship, life history strategies and population connectivity. Yet investigation of in-water movement has been hampered by the small size of hatchlings relative to the size of available tracking technologies. This has resulted in the use of labour intensive visual tracking methods, or active tracking methods with high transmitter to body weight ratios. These methods are confounded by the presence of the observer, the size of the tag, usual small treatment sample sizes and studies that are constrained to daylight hours when turtles hatch predominantly at night. Passive acoustic monitoring using new miniature tags can overcome these limitations.We tested the effectiveness of active and passive acoustic tracking in monitoring turtle hatchling movement in order to measure the influence of artificial light on newly hatched turtles once they enter the water. A Vemco VR2W Positioning System (VPS) comprising an array of 18 VR2W receivers was deployed in the surf zone to detect signals from acoustic-coded transmitters (1.14 � 0.06% of body mass) attached to 26 flatback turtle hatchlings released into the array. A total of 1328 detections were recorded for 22 hatchlings with turtles spending a mean of 16.63 � 5.89. min in the array. The test detection range for this technology in the surf-zone was 50-100. m and was influenced by wave noise and shallow deployment. Cyclonic conditions hampered the experiment and resulted in an inconclusive test of light effects. Three additional instrumented flatback hatchlings were followed in a small boat using a mobile acoustic receiver and directional hydrophone up to 2. km from shore. Passive acoustic monitoring is a viable technology for tracking small marine animals and removes many of the confounding effects of other telemetry methods. It has great potential to examine natural and anthropogenic factors influencing orientation and behaviour during a crucial stage in turtle life history - their initial movement from the beach through predator-rich, near shore waters. While the data obtained by passive acoustic monitoring is limited in its spatio-temporal coverage, being constrained by the size of the array, active acoustic tracking can be applied over larger scales. Such studies will be particularly important for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic pressures that have changed the natural light, noise or wave environments and for providing behavioural data to improve and validate bio-physical models of the migration and dispersal of young turtles. � 2012 Elsevier B.V.

    AB - Understanding the movements of turtle hatchings is essential for improved understanding of dispersal behaviour and ultimately survivorship, life history strategies and population connectivity. Yet investigation of in-water movement has been hampered by the small size of hatchlings relative to the size of available tracking technologies. This has resulted in the use of labour intensive visual tracking methods, or active tracking methods with high transmitter to body weight ratios. These methods are confounded by the presence of the observer, the size of the tag, usual small treatment sample sizes and studies that are constrained to daylight hours when turtles hatch predominantly at night. Passive acoustic monitoring using new miniature tags can overcome these limitations.We tested the effectiveness of active and passive acoustic tracking in monitoring turtle hatchling movement in order to measure the influence of artificial light on newly hatched turtles once they enter the water. A Vemco VR2W Positioning System (VPS) comprising an array of 18 VR2W receivers was deployed in the surf zone to detect signals from acoustic-coded transmitters (1.14 � 0.06% of body mass) attached to 26 flatback turtle hatchlings released into the array. A total of 1328 detections were recorded for 22 hatchlings with turtles spending a mean of 16.63 � 5.89. min in the array. The test detection range for this technology in the surf-zone was 50-100. m and was influenced by wave noise and shallow deployment. Cyclonic conditions hampered the experiment and resulted in an inconclusive test of light effects. Three additional instrumented flatback hatchlings were followed in a small boat using a mobile acoustic receiver and directional hydrophone up to 2. km from shore. Passive acoustic monitoring is a viable technology for tracking small marine animals and removes many of the confounding effects of other telemetry methods. It has great potential to examine natural and anthropogenic factors influencing orientation and behaviour during a crucial stage in turtle life history - their initial movement from the beach through predator-rich, near shore waters. While the data obtained by passive acoustic monitoring is limited in its spatio-temporal coverage, being constrained by the size of the array, active acoustic tracking can be applied over larger scales. Such studies will be particularly important for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic pressures that have changed the natural light, noise or wave environments and for providing behavioural data to improve and validate bio-physical models of the migration and dispersal of young turtles. � 2012 Elsevier B.V.

    KW - acoustic method

    KW - anthropogenic effect

    KW - biophysics

    KW - body size

    KW - connectivity

    KW - dispersal

    KW - environmental factor

    KW - life history trait

    KW - light effect

    KW - model validation

    KW - movement

    KW - positioning system

    KW - surf zone

    KW - survivorship

    KW - telemetry

    KW - tracking

    KW - turtle

    KW - young population

    KW - Animalia

    KW - Cheloniidae

    KW - Natator

    KW - Testudines

    U2 - 10.1016/j.jembe.2012.12.006

    DO - 10.1016/j.jembe.2012.12.006

    M3 - Article

    VL - 440

    SP - 156

    EP - 163

    JO - Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

    JF - Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

    SN - 0022-0981

    IS - February

    ER -