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f01u3p2 - Unit Three Migration Studies Unit III Migration...

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Unit Three Migration Studies Project Oceanography Fall 2001 41 Unit III Migration Studies On the cutting edge… Researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Marine Research Institute are on the edge of scientific discovery. They are working diligently to unlock the mysteries of sea turtle migration including seasonal behaviors and patterns. They are also studying sea turtle life histories, population biology, and ecology in hopes of collecting data that will help the recovery of sea turtles globally. Sea Turtles Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Identify three of the seven species of sea turtles Explain one tagging system used to track sea turtles Discuss the implications of turtle migrations on a global level Key concepts: endangered species, threatened species, life history patterns, instinct, migration, tracking devices Introduction to Sea Turtles See the Project Oceanography Fall 1999 Coastal Reptiles Packet for additional sea turtle information including basic physiology. Sea turtles are large, air- breathing reptiles uniquely adapted to life in the ocean. Their streamlined bodies and strong flippers allow them to move swiftly through the water. Their excellent hearing at low frequencies and good underwater vision also help them to avoid predators. Five of the existing sea turtle species are regularly found in US waters. These include the green turtle, the hawksbill, the loggerhead, the Kemp’s ridley, and the leatherback turtle. The first four species belong to the Family Cheloniidae. These turtles have hard shells made of skeletal bone. The leatherback turtle is the only living member of the Family Dermochelyidae. These turtles have leathery or rubbery skin overlying a mosaic of tiny dermal bones. Four of these five species including the green turtle, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, and leatherback are considered endangered . This means that the populations have become so small that they may not be able to recover. The most endangered of this group is the Kemp’s ridley. The loggerhead turtle
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Unit Three Migration Studies Project Oceanography Fall 2001 42 is threatened which means that the populations are diminished, and if they become smaller this turtle may become endangered. Sea turtles are difficult to study due to their long, complex life histories that take place over large ocean expanses. Opportunities to study sea turtles are generally available to researchers only during the nesting process. This stage represents only a small percentage of the sea turtle’s life span. Florida, with nesting beaches for the green turtle, loggerhead, and leatherback turtles, provides scientists with the opportunity to learn more about these three sea turtle species. The nesting beaches in Florida are of particular significance because they include the largest loggerhead aggregation in the world with tens of thousands of nesting females, the second largest nesting aggregation
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f01u3p2 - Unit Three Migration Studies Unit III Migration...

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