Satellite Tracking Information
Thank you for your interest and support of our Satellite Tagged Sea Turtles! The sea turtles listed below have been fitted with satellite tags onto their carapace (top shell) and released. These sea turtles were either former patients in Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility, or they were educational research sea turtles that have been released. Tracking sea turtle movements can offer valuable data and insight into behaviors, habitat ranges, and migration.
Once the animal is released back into their natural habitat the signals can end at any time. There are several reasons why a satellite tagged sea turtle may not appear to be moving or no longer transmitting….
- A result of a turtle finding a foraging (or feeding) ground. After a nesting season, sea turtles migrate to a foraging area. They generally remain there until their next nesting season, usually one or two years later.
- No new locations are most likely due to the antenna being damaged or fallen off, usually when wedging themselves between or underneath rocks when seeking shelter. Fouling organisms and algae can grow over the sensors that tell the transmitter to send signals, but it is possible that the transmitter will start sending signals again.
- The battery life of a satellite tag typically lasts about a year, but can cease at any time, or even last several years. This can be another reason for sudden loss of transmission/ new locations.
- There are many possibilities for the irregularity of positions. The satellite transmitters are not always “on”, rather they are programmed so that they are “on” for a set number of hours then “off” for a set number of hours. This helps conserve the batteries which power the unit. For a location to be collected, a satellite must be in “view” of the transmitter and the turtle must remain at the surface long enough to give the satellite time to receive a signal from the transmitter. So, several things must happen at the same time for a position to result.