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Satellite Tracking

Why did animal X stop transmitting?

Murph

Cayman Islands 2006: Green Turtle

A project of Marine Turtle Research Group.


click map for full-size version
Ten days after her satellite transmitter was attached, Murph was seen nesting on Seven Mile Beach (see the image library - http://wwww.seaturtle.org/imagelib). Now Murph is living permanently in North Sound! This is extremely unusual behaviour (compare to other turtles tracked from the Cayman Islands - http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/cayman). Usually, turtles nest every 2-4 years, because they need to build up energy for their long migrations. Since Murph is so close to her nesting beach, will we see her on Seven Mile Beach again this summer? Check back to find out...

Full-Size Map (22KB)

Species: Green Turtle
Life Stage: Adult
Gender: Female
Release Date: 2006-08-31 00:00:00
Release Location: Grand Cayman
Last Location: 2007-02-09 15:48:25

Adoptive Parents:
Eleanor
Charlene Icart
Jim O'Kane
Willow Murphy-Davis
Jennifer Flanigan
Michelle Miller

Background

Murph is an adult female green turtle, weighing more than 300 pounds, and with a shell measuring 106.5 cm (3.5 ft) in length. A state-of-the-art Sirtrack Satellite Transmitter was sponsored by the The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau, in order to track Murph’s migratory movements after she nested in the Cayman Islands.
In the beginning of the summer, adult female and male turtles travel to the Cayman Islands to breed and nest on our beaches (find out where other turtles have travelled). At the end of the summer nesting season, the turtles migrate back to feeding grounds in other countries where they live for the rest of the year. Like Caytraveler, and unlike other turtles tracked in the project, Murph was released from the Cayman Turtle Farm as a yearling (one year old) in 1988, marked with a Living Tag. Eighteen years later, researchers from the Department of Environment tagged Murph with a satellite transmitter, in order to find out where Murph lives when she is not nesting in Grand Cayman.
Every summer, Department of Environment researchers and volunteers patrol beaches to search for
turtle nests and tracks . Murph was first seen late at night on 31 August 2006, when she emerged from the ocean to nest on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. After she finished laying her eggs, staff from the Ambassadors of the Environment program and other volunteers helped our team from the Cayman Islands Department of Environment attach a satellite transmitter to Murph’s shell. First, we cleaned her carapace (upper shell), and then we used a special kind of glue (called epoxy) for the attachment (this glue is very lightweight and harmless to turtles). After the epoxy dried, we released Murph and she swam off in the ocean with her new satellite transmitter!
Satellite tracking is the only way to follow the turtles’ migrations through the open ocean, to the areas where they spend most of their adult lives. Wild green turtles satellite tracked by the Department of Environment have travelled across the open ocean to live in Mexico and Central America, and Caytraveller travelled to Belize. Will Murph follow a similar route? Check back soon to find out.


SEATURTLE.ORG collaborates with Argos to help scientists and conservationists manage and analyse their valuable animal tracking data.

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