Where do all the baby turtles go? According to research aided by UW zoologist Warren Porter, they spend most of their time on weed — seaweed. Specifically, baby loggerhead turtles float for years on mats of sargassum as they cross the Atlantic Ocean from their birthplace on Florida’s coast to their reappearance as juveniles near the Canary Islands. Porter and colleagues at the University of Central Florida attached satellite transmitters to seventeen baby loggerheads and tracked their movements. They theorize several reasons why the turtles hide out in seaweed: sargassum seems to provide concealment to the vulnerable reptiles, as well as food and warmth.
Published in the Winter 2014 issue