2014 Satellite Tagging of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Sargassum sample

Sargassum sample

Project Title: Understanding Impacts of the Sea Scallop Fishery on Loggerhead Sea Turtles through Satellite Tagging

Year: 2014

Client: NOAA/NMFS Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside

Click to download the final report

During the 2014 research season, we spent a total of 12 days at sea, spread across three trips, to deploy satellite transmitters, take biological samples and track turtles using the ROV. Through our collaboration with NEFSC, we deployed 19 transmitters on loggerheads during the first trip in late May and 1 transmitter during the research trip in early September. During this September trip, we tracked a leatherback turtle with a radio transmitter and a temperature-depth logger. We also deployed a camera system to film jellyfish presence through depth. We took 5 specific jellyfish surveys during this trip. We took one more research trip in mid-September specifically to use the ROV to film turtles at-sea and to investigate the Sargassum mats. A total of 19 ROV dives were taken within and around the Sargassum mats with a total of 8 turtle encounters and 3 followed by the ROV. Further video was taken to assess the species associated with the mats and samples were retrieved from the mats to be identified in the lab. We again focused our deployments and research trips on turtles found within the Mid-Atlantic Bight, with satellite and ROV deployments for loggerheads occurring within a latitudinal range of 40.1° – 36.9°.  For further information on our past loggerhead sea turtle research review our 2006, 20092011, 2012, and 2013 project pages.