Study is part of pilot project geared towards safeguarding longevity of endangered turtle species

Ecological research organisation Monaco Explorations have expanded their investigations into marine ecosystems to concentrate more fully on the green turtles of Martinique. Late last year, experts from Monaco Explorations, oceanographic institute Ifremer and national scientific research centre CNRS teamed up to settle in Anses d’Arlet in the French overseas department. Their work will focus specifically on the green turtles living in the area and by learning more about their breeding, feeding and migratory patterns, the team hopes to better safeguard their future.

This particular type of turtle is especially vulnerable to subtle changes in their habitat brought about by human activity and manmade climate change. With such a large multitude of parameters affecting their day-to-day lives and bigger-picture migratory routes, scientists are often overwhelmed by the sheer weight of information that must be assimilated in order to best protect at-risk species such as these. With that in mind, Monaco Explorations, Ifremer and CNRS are utilising the latest state-of-the-art technological equipment to gather as much information about these majestic creatures as possible.

To fully monitor their habits, the turtles under surveillance have been fitted with specially designed backpacks as part of CNRS’s ANTIDOT project. These non-invasive backpacks are equipped with cameras, sensors and satellite trackers, allowing the research team to stay abreast of the turtles’ movements at all times. Meanwhile, the investigation also utilises a new system of geolocation tagging, which is a form of coastal monitoring that is both economically and environmentally efficient. The research project, named NExT, has been developed as part of an incentive to better understand and preserve Indian Ocean green turtles from anthropological disturbances.

Monaco Explorations was launched in 2017 under the direction of HSH Prince Albert II as a means of increasing our knowledge and raising awareness of threats facing our seas and oceans. The Martinique mission is part of a three-year programme, during which Monaco Explorations has made its research vessel The Yersin available for scientific bodies to take advantage of. Having been in place in Martinique for less than three weeks, the mission has already had a significant impact on local fauna, with this story of a rescued turtle a touching microcosm of the important work that the NExT project is undertaking.