Nomadic behaviour of the highly migratory olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean
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I studied the post-reproductive migrations of 30 male and female olive ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys olivacea in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) using satellite telemetry. Long-term data revealed that turtles were widely distributed in the pelagic zone from Mexico to Peru and lacked migratory corridors. Turtles migrated long distances, swam continuously, displayed no fidelity to specific feeding habitats, and were nomadic. An El Niño occurred in the middle of the study, and turtle migration patterns changed in response. ETP olive ridleys likely evolved migratory flexibility to adapt to the frequent and unpredictable environmental change characteristic of their large dynamic marine ecosystem. This suggests that ETP olive ridleys may be less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than other sea turtle species. © Inter-Research 2010.
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