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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 185:293-296 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps185293

A new method for the determination of at-sea activity in sea turtles

Sandra Hochscheid*, Rory P. Wilson

Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany
*Present address: Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, Scotland, UK. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Interpretation of diving profiles of aquatic animals would be considerably enhanced by additional behavioural information. A new sensor is presented here which records animal movements. This sensor was tested on a captive loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta which showed similar activity patterns to free-living green turtles Chelonia mydas. A computer program with user-selectable options was developed to analyse the data consistently and rapidly. Using our sensor we calculated the total resting time, which differed by less than 5% from the real resting time when the sampling interval was 2 s. The method was additionally tested for different sampling intervals to find out its applicability for field studies.

KEY WORDS: Activity sensor · Sea turtles · At-sea activity · Dive profiles · 3-D compass

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