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Effects of interannual variability and climate change on the migration of loggerhead turtles across the North Pacific OceanΒΆ

  1. Study the passive and active movements of loggerhead turtles across the North Pacific Ocean using turtle tag data, FSLE and, possibly, SST and its gradient.


  • Do we see an interannual variability in the locations of turtles with respect to FSLE filaments and can this be explained by the dynamical changes of the Kuroshio expected at this time scale?
  • Is there a number of FSLE filaments that are not associated with a SST gradient? If yes, does it make a different with respect to the turtles location? (Say differently, do turtles want to be at a SST front, because of the possible increase in food at the front, or are they just being passively advected by the flow (=FSLE) indifferent of SST?
  1. What are the expected changes in migrating behavior in a warmer climate?

To do:

  • Construct a bioenergetic model of turtle motion
  • Allow adaptation using a combination of artificial neural network and genetic algorithm
  • Construct a numerical model of the circulation in the North Pacific Ocean with sufficient resolution in the horizontal and vertical to reproduce the submesoscale and run it in present and future climate conditions for several years. One might need to use a regional model forced at the boundaries by a coarser-resolution model. Several years are needed to obtain statistically significant statistics.
  • Construct the individual-based model which, in combination with the adapting bioenergetic model, can make prediction on the effects of interannual variability and climate change on turtle migration.

These predictions could be serve to monitor how turtles behave in face of global warming and what would be the most resilient region that needs to be protected.

See Dagorn et al. (1997), Huse et al. (1999), Strand et al. (2002), Okunishi et al. (2009), Neuheimer et al. (2010), Willis (2011).

See Cocco et al. (2013) for a study of the changes in oxygen (and indicators of stress for marine life) in future climate.

Read Von Houtan and Halley (2011): Long-term climate forcing in Loggerhead Sea Turtle nesting