chapter  8
18 Pages

Adult Migrations and Habitat Use

Adult sea turtles are among the largest living reptiles and the only reptiles that exhibit long-distance migrations that rival those of terrestrial and avian vertebrates. Many details of these large-scale movements are poorly understood because sea turtles swim over vast areas. Data accumulated from several decades of mark-recapture and telemetry studies demonstrate that adult sea turtle migrations are resourcedriven, with migrants traveling hundreds to thousands of kilometers between established feeding and breeding areas at regular or seasonal intervals. For some species, however, resources are not always predictable in time and space. For example, food resources can vary spatially and temporally, and critical breeding habitats may be ephemeral. Thus, some sea turtles have evolved special migratory behaviors to compensate for environmental variability and unpredictability.