Once our little turtles hatch out of their nests and make it to the water, they have a long journey ahead of them. Their destination is the Sargasso Sea. The hatchlings begin their swimming frenzy for several days until they reach the Sargasso Sea (www.seeturtles.org/). The Sargasso Sea is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, running along the Gulf Stream. The Sargasso Sea is made up of a floating seaweed called sargassum seaweed (class Phyaeophyceae). This seaweed has air pockets on its stem that allows it to float on the surface of the water. The seaweed provides the hatchlings with shelter from predators and a food source. Many small invertebrates live on the seaweed, which the hatchlings will eat. Sea turtles have lungs and must surface to breath. Since little hatchlings must stay at the surface to breath, the floating seaweed hides them from fish and flying predators that could eat them. These little hatchlings can spend 10 to 12 years in the sea, growing from hatchlings to juveniles (seeturtles.org). Once they are juveniles and can hold their breaths for deep dives to benthic food sources such as echinoderms, they will start to move closer to the coastline. Once they’re adults and start laying eggs themselves, their own little hatchlings will make the same journey to the Sargasso Sea.
Blog Post By: Nicole Lynch, Sea Turtle Intern
Sea Turtle Biologist