Information is flooding into the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies from their three turtles that they released late last year.
Following a lengthy rehab for most of 2019, IMMS released their turtles Fig Newton, Scar, and Shucker into the Mississippi Sound for research. Dr. Moby Solangi said, “We are having the animals tell us the story so that there will be no questions as to if an environment affected them and their habitat.”
For almost two months, the trio of turtles have been roaming the Gulf Coast. Typically, these turtles migrate southwest in search of warmer waters during winter.
When spring arrives, the turtles usually return back to their natural habitat on the Coast, an act that Dr. Solangi says will truly paint a picture of the lasting effects of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. “If they do not come back that itself will be very telling why they did not prefer this area. Whether it was food, whether it was salinity, whether it was temperature, all of these factors would be evident in terms of suitability of the habitat.”
Turtles are just one of many species residing on the Coast, but they’re providing information that could help out the rest. “These are part of the entire food chain, or the ecosystem. When links of these ecosystems start breaking down, everything starts breaking down.”
You can track the turtles as they continue on with their journey at imms.org/track-our-turtles.