Aquarium Scientists Encouraged By New Surgical Procedure

A sea turtle is prepared for surgical implantation. Photo courtesy of the New England Aquarium

QUINCY – Scientists with the New England Aquarium are drawing attention to a surgical procedure that may help them to better understand the vulnerable populations of sea turtles.

A new study published in Animal Biotelemetry, during which 15 hospitalized loggerhead turtles were surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters, provided encouraging results for their healthy implantation and efficacy, which allowed scientists to track their movements up and down the East Coast of the United States.

Each transmitter successfully sent over 1,300 transmissions from a range as far south as Florida.

Scientists hope the findings will aid efforts to protect the seven sea turtle species, each of which is of global concern due to factors including habitat loss, overfishing, or weather events such as those that leave hundreds of turtles stranded along coastal beaches each year.

“The technique has potential to inform us about a turtle’s location for many years – much longer than other available methods,” said veterinarian Dr. Charles Innis, lead author of the study.

“The information that we gain will help us to better understand how sea turtles use New England waters, which is important for establishing effective conservation policies. It will also allow us to understand the long-term fate of the many turtles that we rehabilitate each year.”

Eighteen Aquarium employees participated in the study, which was partially funded by the Arthur L. & Elaine V. Johnson Foundation.

To view the study, click here.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the NewsCenter since 2021.
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