Principal Investigator: Dr. Chris Lowe
Graduate Student: Daniel Crear
NOAA Affililates: Dan Lawson, Dr. Jeff Seminoff, Dr. Tomo Eguchi, Robin LeRoux
Facility: California State University Long Beach
Study: The effects of temperature and habitat on the movement patterns of green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, within an urbanized river and local estuary
It has been previously thought that the eastern Pacific green sea turtles inhabiting San Diego Bay, CA was the most northern population; however, over the past 50 years green sea turtles have been observed beyond their northern range in the San Gabriel River (Long Beach, CA) and Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge (Seal Beach, CA). Water temperatures within the San Gabriel River are highly altered by the warm water discharge of two power plant systems. It is expected that an ecothermic species like the green sea turtle will prefer warmer temperatures in the river, particularly during the winter months, in order to avoid unfavorable colder waters. A 21 acoustic receiver array (Fig. 1) helped determine that in the winter when water temperatures drop in coastal habitats like Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, green sea turtles use the river as a thermal refuge. Temperature was also the major driver of turtle presence and activity within the river.
Funding Provided by: NMFS
Crear et al. 2016