Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute (EOS)

Tracked turtle returns
An AUT PhD student has discovered a small population of green sea turtles in New Zealand waters.

A turtle being tracked as part of PhD student Dan Godoy’s research has made a 500km journey to return to where he spent the better part of a year being rehabilitated.

Dan believes the time spent recuperating at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World left an imprint on the green sea turtle’s brain which saw him travel from where he was released in the Far North’s Parengarenga Harbour back to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.

The AUT University student is devoting his research to the migration, habitat-use and population genetics of green sea turtles in New Zealand and had attached a $3500 satellite tag to “Reeves” the turtle before releasing him in March.

During a visit to Rangaunu Harbour (south of Parengarenga) about the same time, Dan was excited to find more green sea turtles.

“Previously it was assumed that our winter water temperatures were too cold to sustain a resident population of sea turtles, year round. This means, there may be a small population of green sea turtles established here that we have never known about,” says Dan.

Dan is working with AUT’s Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute (EOS). Established in 2002 the institute focuses on terrestrial and aquatic environment research in and around Auckland.

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