(Scientists: Assoc. Prof. Liew Hock Chark and Dr. Chan Eng Heng)
These studies employ a combination of radio and ultrasonic telemetry techniques, as well as microprocessor-controlled data recorders to provide insights into the daily lifes of sea turtles at sea.
Radio-telemetry has enabled the identification of internesting habitats of leatherback turtles in Rantau Abang, resulting in the legal establishment of an offshore sanctuary for these animals.
The use of telemetry techniques have enabled researchers to locate, observe and closely monitor the behaviour of sea turtles while at sea. Habitat requirements, mating and swimming behaviour during the internesting period and diving patterns of green turtles in the islands off Terengganu as well as along the mainland beaches are studied.
SEATRU has developed a technique to study the offshore movements of newly-emerged turtle hatchlings by miniaturization of radio-telemetry techniques. By following the hatchlings in the sea, we can gain an understanding of where these hatchlings go, the currents they follow, where, what and when they feed, and the dangers they face. It is only through such studies that we can provide accurate estimates of survival, and hence a better assessment of the impact of current sea turtle hatchery programmes throughout Malaysia.
Green turtle equipped with radio and ultrasonic transmitters resting on the sea-floor.