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Analysis of leatherback turtle habitat and distribution

PI: Matthew Witt
Institution: University of Exeter, Cornwall
With an understanding of the thermal constraints of leatherback turtles and the physiology of their gelatinous organism prey we wish to investigate how changes in sea surface temperature, salinity and strength of the global thermohaline circulation affect probably distribution patterns of gelatinous organisms, hence leatherback turtles. We would like to investigate how the forage availability and temperature niche interact spatially, subsequently opening and closing potential foraging habitats. I have undertaken an analyses of gelatinous organism response to the ocean environment for the past 50 years and would like to obtain projected changes in SST to model potential gelatinous organism distribution and abundance. This piece of work forms part of my PhD, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (UK) into defining and predicting habitat usage by leatherback turtles using modelled and satellite derived environmental variables.

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    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  |  Physical & Life Sciences Directorate