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Loggerhead turtles feed in the same places year after year—meaning key locations should be protected, researchers say.
University of Exeter scientists used satellite tracking and "stable isotope ratios"—a chemical signature also used by forensic scientists—to track female loggerheads from two rookeries (nesting beaches) in the Mediterranean.
Study - Region - Plateau - Mediterranean
The study identified three main feeding areas—the Adriatic region, the Tunisian Plateau and the eastern Mediterranean.
"We show where the majority of nesting female turtles spend the most of their life, meaning that in addition to their nesting beaches we can also protect important marine habitats where they feed," said lead author Julia Haywood, of the University of Exeter.
Half - Cyprus - Population - Feeds - Plateau
"Nearly half of the Cyprus nesting population feeds on the Tunisian Plateau, an area known to have some of the highest turtle bycatch (accidental catch by humans fishing) in the world.
"Therefore, we support recommendations that this area should be conserved."
Study - Turtles - Rookeries - Greece - Cyprus
The study tracked turtles from rookeries in Greece and Cyprus using data from 1993 to 2018.
"By studying these turtles for so long we show these females stay in the same feeding area over decades, which means if these habitats are damaged...
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