Tracking sea turtles
  • Last updated:
  • 04 Nov 2020

Tracking sea turtles for science

Since 1975 thousands of turtles have been tagged to help scientists understand more about the various stages in their life cycles.

In 1975 more than 7,000 Loggerhead hatchlings were tagged at Mon Repos in south east Queensland. One of the returning turtles, named Premiere, was fitted with a satellite tracker in 2003 to assist scientists to understand more about her home ranges during the nesting period and outside of nesting time.

Premiere joined three green turtles, Dean, Ted and Moreton, all of which were fitted with satellite trackers in 2002 and another loggerhead, Jimmy, fitted with one in May 2003.

To learn more about the adventures of Premiere, Dean, Moreton, Jimmy and Ted visit the Queensland DES website.

Satellite tracking is also being carried out elsewhere around the world. Scientists tracked one leatherback turtle that swam from Indonesia to the U.S in an epic 20,000km journey as it searched for food.

All the research and tracking projects undertaken around the world are contributing to a growing bank of knowledge that is helping us understand and protect the endangered sea turtles. Council is also monitoring marine turtle nesting along the coast line, see the Marine Turtle Nest Monitoring map for more details.

Tracking sea turtles: Matilda's story

Have you ever wondered where the Sunshine Coast's nesting turtles come from? Or where they go to when they finish nesting?

In 2012 volunteers from TurtleCare and Coolum District Coastcare partnered with Sunshine Coast Council to find out more about one special Loggerhead turtle. Matilda was fitted with a Sirtrack Fastloc tracker on the night of 6 Jan 2012 after she finished laying what was believed to be her third clutch of eggs for the season. Matilda's tracker has stopped transmitting, but we are keeping an eye out on our nesting beaches for her return.