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University tracks turtles

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Researchers from the University of Exeter have used the forensic technique of ‘stable isotope ratios’, a chemical signature, combined with satellite tracking, to discover what foraging grounds green turtles breeding in Cyprus have come from.

Their findings, published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, highlight their discovery that Lake Bardawil, a shallow saline lake on Egypt’s north coast, has emerged as the most important foraging ground for the turtles. ‘Five out of five’ of the turtles tracked using the new isotope visiting this lake, according to Professor Brendan Godley.

Green turtles can swim hundreds of miles between their breeding and feeding grounds, and the research suggests that they keep going back to the same places, with 82 per cent of females displaying ‘extremely high’ consistency in their isotope ratios. Dr Phil Bradshaw stated that the new ‘more reliable’ technique ‘can be used to measure the success of future conservation efforts.’

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Second year studying English, with a passion for music, TV and comic books.