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Movements of marine and estuarine turtles during Hurricane Michael

January 15, 2021

Natural disturbances are an important driver of population dynamics. Because it is difficult to observe wildlife during these events, our understanding of the strategies that species use to survive these disturbances is limited. On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall on Florida’s northwest coast. Using satellite and acoustic telemetry, we documented movements of 6 individual turtles: one loggerhead sea turtle, one Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, three green sea turtles and one diamondback terrapin, in a coastal bay located less than 30 km from hurricane landfall. Post-storm survival was confirmed for all but the Kemp’s ridley; the final condition of that individual remains unknown. No obvious movements were observed for the remaining turtles however the loggerhead used a larger home range in the week after the storm. This study highlights the resiliency of turtles in response to extreme weather conditions. However, long-term impacts to these species from habitat changes post-hurricane are unknown.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Movements of marine and estuarine turtles during Hurricane Michael
DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-81234-3
Authors Margaret M. Lamont, Darren Johnson, Daniel J. Catizone
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Scientific Reports
Index ID 70227447
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center