The PAT tag that was attached to Katia has now been gathering and relaying data to us for 145 days and the battery is just now starting to show signs of failure. Her tag came off on October 15th and has been drifting in the Gulf Stream current system since then. If this tag didn’t have the ability to detect water temperature and dive behavior, one might even think it was still attached to the turtle. The map below shows the complete movements of the tag after prior and after release.
While we have been hopeful that the missing GPS data would reveal her trip back towards Virginia and North Carolina it now appears that she was simply moving too fast for the GPS antenna to break the surface and record locations. We do see quite a few corrupt transmissions during that time period and this very likely indicate she was moving at a high rate of speed (for a turtle..)
Her tag has relayed most of the data already and we should have a complete data set soon. Check back for a complete analysis!
The long term tracking of leatherbacks is a collaborative project with the National Marine Fisheries Service. If you wish to access these data for a school research project or wish to collaborate with us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We share and license data using a Creative Commons license