Losing track of Apollo
By Dean Bagley, UCF Marine Turtle Research Group
I am, once again, delivering bad news. We lost track of Apollo on Oct. 3, two days after the last update. He was still in his newer foraging area a little west of where he had spent the bulk of his time. He’d set up a beautiful night and day pattern, with his nights in the red cluster to the north. This area appears to be part of the Western Sambo Ecological Reserve off Boca Chica Key, and is certainly within the Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The Western Sambo Reserve boasts the greatest habitat diversity in the lower Keys, and where Apollo spent his time appears to be in about 18 feet of water. I was in this area in March, and the water is crystal clear; you can see bottom as if it were in 3 feet of water. I’ve sent a final map of his entire track, and a closeup of where he was last.
I’m so sorry we’ve lost him this soon, especially after just losing Jack. It is one of the pitfalls of tracking green turtles. But what we have learned — and will learn — far outweighs the transmitter loss. He showed us a new place and behavior for mating when he spent all of his time at the tip of the Cape, and gave us a concise foraging area, which will contribute to our growing knowledge about stable isotope signatures in the Keys. This is unlike Jack, who moved from one foraging area to another, making it difficult to identify a signature from one specific place. The stable isotope analysis probably won’t be back for a while (It is someone else’s research.) and I don’t have DNA results for the males, so I can’t tell you about that yet. There is still much to be gained from what we’ve learned from both Jack and Apollo.
Once again I thank you all for making this possible.