Marine turtles are only dependent on the beach for egg incubation and spend most of their lifetime in coastal waters, feeding in coral reefs. Satellite tagging individuals is crucial for better understanding their post-nesting movement and habitat use.
How are satellite transmitters deployed on sea turtles?
The KIWISAT 101 (a model of satellite transmitters designed for marine tracking) is hydrodynamically shaped and weighs a minute 630g. It is attached to the turtle's carapace (shell) with dental putty (the stuff used to make dental impressions) as a base and encased using epoxy adhesive.
The whole process (including the preparation of the carapace and taking necessary measurements) can be completed within 3 hours in which the turtle will be safely released after. The attachment is intended to be an impermanent fixture as it is meant to be easily removed if encountered after the usefulness of the device has expired or eventually detach itself due to prolong deterioration of the adhesive.