Senko, Jesse, Volker Koch, William M. Megill, Raymond R. Carthy, Robert P. Templeton, and Wallace J. Nichols. 2010. Fine scale daily movements and habitat use of East Pacific green turtles at a shallow coastal lagoon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 391 (1–2): 92–100.
Green turtles spend most of their lives in coastal foraging areas where they face multiple anthropogenic impacts. Therefore, understanding their spatial use in this environment is a priority for conservation efforts. We studied the fine scale daily movements and habitat use of East Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at Laguna San Ignacio, a shallow coastal lagoon in Baja California Sur, Mexico where sea turtles are subject to high levels of gillnet bycatch and directed hunting. Six turtles ranging from 44.6 to 83.5 cm in straight carapace length were tracked for short deployments (1 to 6 d) with GPS-VHF telemetry. Turtles were active throughout diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular periods. Although they moved greater total distances during daytime, their speed of travel and net displacement remained consistent throughout 24-h periods. A positive selection for areas of seagrass and moderate water depth (5 to 10 m) was determined using Ivlev's electivity index, with neutral selection for shallow water (< 5 m) and avoidance of deep water (> 10 m). Turtles exhibited two distinct behavioral movement patterns: circular movements with high fidelity to the capture–release location and meandering movements with low fidelity to the capture–release location. Our results indicate that green turtles were active throughout the diel cycle while traveling large distances and traversing multiple habitats over short temporal scales.