Turtles complete seemingly impossible journey thanks to a hidden ‘corridor’ through the Pacific

Turtles complete seemingly impossible journey thanks to a hidden 'corridor' through the Pacific
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(Image credit: Shutterstock) North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles ( Caretta caretta ) hatch on the shores of Japan and spend much of their time in the open Pacific, but sometimes mysteriously crop up in Mexico, 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) away from their original nesting ground. That incredible journey requires them to pass through potentially deadly, cold waters that should be inhospitable to them, since loggerheads rely on warmth from the surrounding environment to maintain their core body temperatures. Now, scientists have a clue as to how the turtles survive this epic migration. "This mystery had been around for decades, and nobody had a clue how to explain it," said senior author Larry Crowder, a professor of marine ecology and conservation at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Along the North American Pacific coast, seasonal winds from the north periodically sweep down the shoreline, pushing warm surface waters offshore. Cold water from the deep ocean then rises up to replace that warm water, dragging up an abundance of nutrients with it. Tropical animals, including loggerheads, rarely venture into these cold waters from the open Pacific, Crowder said. Charles Darwin […]

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