Saltwater Crocodiles surf Ocean Currents

September 6, 2010

Saltwater_esturine_crocodileWith the exception of a Great White, or possibly an Oceanic White-tip (on a bad day), nothing terrifies me more than the prospect of meeting a 20ft (6m) Saltwater ‘Estuarine’ Crocodile out in the open Ocean. And apparently that’s not as unlikely as I would have hoped for!

Despite being poor swimmers, researchers have discovered that the saltwater crocodile (also known as estuarine) commonly travels long distances over open oceans by riding ocean currents. The discovery, published in Journal of Animal Ecology, solves an unknown mystery of why saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are found across vast distance in the Pacific, yet have not diverged into different species.

Researchers tracked 27 adult saltwater crocodiles for one year using tags and sonar transmitters. The tagging showed that crocodile individuals, both male and female, regularly traveled more than 50 kilometers from their local rivers into the open sea. One crocodile traveled 590 kilometers in 25 days; another traveled 411 kilometers in 20 days.

The saltwater crocodile’s range extends from India to Fiji and from southern China to northern Australia. They are the world’s largest crocodile species.

From Mongabay.com

Oh man, bring out the cello….

Having read this article I decided to read-up on where in the world precisely I might have a chance of bumping in to (or more like becoming a light snack of) one of these huge ocean-going beasts. Here’s what I found:

estuarine_crocodile_map

perhaps not so surprising that they frequent the region of the planet with the largest bio-diversity – and even less surprising that my number 1 must-see diving destination (planned for 2012) is PNG and is a veritable hot spot for the buggers! Great :(

Loggerhead turtles current-riding 20,000km round-trip

March 16, 2009

loggerhead_turtleA marine biologist has helped fill in the so-called lost years of Australia’s loggerhead turtles by discovering they are using ocean currents to undertake a 20,000-kilometre, round trip across the Pacific Ocean.

Dr Michelle Boyle, of the School of Marine and Tropical Ecology at James Cook University, Queensland, and colleagues used genetic testing to track the migratory behaviour of the Australian-born loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), which hatches in rookeries on the Queensland coast.

Boyle says it appears the endangered turtles use the ocean currents that make up the South Pacific gyre to travel across the southern Pacific Ocean to the waters off Peru and Chile.

In scenes reminiscent of the animated movie Finding Nemo, they then pick up the East Australian Current (EAC), which they “ride” down the coast of eastern Australia.

From ABC Science, Full Article HERE

Basking sharks tracked from UK to Canada

May 28, 2008

Britain’s biggest shark species has been tracked for the first time for thousands of miles from waters southwest of the Isle of Man to Canada.

Until now little was known about endangered basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) when they moved outside British waters, but scientists have confirmed that the animals travel huge distances and plunder deep waters for food. The discoveries were made with the help of two sharks, known as A and B, who were tagged last year.

The detailed pattern of movements will now enable scientists to identify new ways to protect sharks from harm in British waters. There is still a risk of hunting in other waters, however, because of the shark’s highly valued fins, which are a delicacy in some countries.

From the Times: Read more