University of Queensland measures energy used by baby turtles heading seaward

by Owen James

This little fella may look pretty cute to us, but in the wild a baby turtle is at the most vulnerable period of its life. Finding out more about this stage of a turtle’s life is why the baby pictured has been dressed up in lyrca – it’s all in the name of science.

Zoologist Dr David Booth from the University of Queensland, Australia, has been conducting experiments to discover how much energy it takes a baby turtle to dash across the sand, evade the gulls, dodge the first fish waiting just offshore, and eventually make it to deep water:

“I fitted each hatchling with a lycra swim suit with a chord attached to a force transducer, before setting the youngster free in a seawater aquarium. As soon as they entered the water, the youngsters began swimming quickly with their large front flippers, pulling against the force transducer as if they were swimming out to sea.”

Dr Booth calculates the hatchlings’ yolk sacs contain a massive ten times the energy they require for their estimated 18 hour swim to the depths.

All turtles used in the experiments were returned to the ocean afterwards.

Read the Ultimate Secrets To Saltwater Fish And Invertebrates.

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