Turtle Travels

Turtle Travels

Zoological Research

Follow two loggerhead sea turtles as they embark on a journey reaching half-way around the world!

Dr. Scott Eckert, a Senior Research Biologist at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute will track the roaming reptiles as they travel from their release site off the coast of San Diego, CA to their destination: the sandy beaches of Japan. Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Chairman of the Board George Gildred won the opportunity to name the two turtles in a recent fundraiser. The names he chose were Julie, named for his daughter, and Carie, named for a friend of the family.

The two loggerhead sea turtles were reintroduced to the ocean on October 5, 1998. Both have satellite transmitters glued to their shells. The transmitters send information about the turtles’ location to a satellite which relays the information to a computer. Scientists like Dr. Eckert use the information from the computer to map their location and learn more about sea turtles.



Questions and Answers

WHEN WERE THE TURTLES RELEASED?

On October 5, 1998, two female loggerhead sea turtles were released from a boat about 12 miles off of San Diego.

WILL THEY SWIM TOGETHER?

All Turtles are solitary animals that only get together during mating season. Instinctively, they will follow similar courses to Japan and may encounter other turtles along the way, but they do not travel in groups.

HOW DO THE TRANSMITTERS WORK?

There are two satellites circling the earth that receive signals from transmitters such as the ones attached to these loggerheads. These satellites are the same ones that watch the earth's weather and send back data for the maps that you see on the evening news. When it receives a signal, the satellite transfers the data to a ground receiving station, and Dr. Eckert receives a report by e-mail.

HOW OFTEN WILL THEIR PROGRESS BE UPDATED?

Weekly. The tracking system will supply detailed information on the turtles’ migration such as speed, location and distance traveled.

WHAT OTHER KINDS OF ANIMALS HAVE YOU STUDIED USING SATELLITES?

Scientists have studied giant leatherback sea turtles from Trinidad and Mexico, whale sharks from Mexico, Philippines and Borneo and our celebrity male green sea turtle who became known as "Wrong Way Corrigan" because he was found in Alaska instead of the warm native waters off the coasts of Mexico where green sea turtles are usually found.

WHERE CAN WE LEARN MORE?

    • National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1989. Recovery Plan for U.S. Pacific Populations of the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta). National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD.
    • Eckert, K.L. 1993. The biology and population status of marine turtles in the north Pacific Ocean. NOAA Tech. Memo. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-186. 156pp.
    • Turtle Trax. A leading sea turtle conservation group. turtles.org
    • 1-800-23-SHAMU