Sea turtles are one of the planet’s most cherished species. A recent study has discovered a new and unconventional method to catch up the sea turtles. British scientists are using criminal catching techniques to investigate the movements of the green sea turtles. University of Exeter researchers used satellite tracking and a crime-scene method to discover which foraging grounds turtles had come from to breed in Cyprus.

The crime scene method is a tracing method used by forensic scientists. The researchers used the stable isotope ratios-a chemical signature also used by forensic scientists- and discovered that Lake Bardawil situated on Egypt’s north coast is now the most important foraging ground for turtles which breed at Alagadi in Cyprus, an area known for its huge turtle population.

Professor Brendan Godley, director of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said that their satellite tracking of turtles breeding has been going on for some years and therefore they knew where many of the turtles went to forage for food. But their preliminary analysis using stable isotopes revealed that a major foraging area has been missed. He further said that a large proportion of turtles had isotopes that did not correspond to sites previously identified and they tracked five of those turtles. They found that five out of five went to Lake Bardawil.

Dr. Phil Bradshaw, who is also from the University of Exeter noted that this research demonstrated how stable isotope analysis could help the scientists learn more about the lives of species like green turtles. So, using a combination of this isotope analysis and satellite tracking provides scientists with more reliable data which can be further utilized to measure the success of future conservation efforts. Surely, this new innovative tracking technology involving criminal techniques will definitely help to the researchers to monitor the movements of sea turtles without intervening in their environment and disturbing their natural balance. The study was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series.


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