Leatherback Sea Turtles and their Jellyfish Prey

Leatherback Sea Turtles and their Jellyfish Prey

Researcher: Dr. Thomas K Doyle

Contact: t.doyle@ucc.ie
Telephone: 021 4703119
Project Website: www.turtle.ie

Project Description

Funding Body: INTERREG IIIA, NPWS, Marine Institute, and Heritage Council

Programme: FP6
Project type: PhD – post-doc (in transition!!)
Period: 2003 – 2006 (INTERREG IIIA), 2006 – 2007 (NPWS and MI)

This project considered the spatial relationship of leatherback turtles and their jellyfish prey in the Irish Sea. Key elements of the project include aerial surveys of the Irish Sea, satellite tracking of leatherback turtles, shoreline jellyfish surveys, schools workshops and public seminars. Through collaboration with existing conservation bodies we tackled the long unanswered question of whether leatherbacks are merely oceanic wanderers that find themselves in our waters or whether they form an important part of our natural heritage. The continued success of this project was made possible thanks to the generous funding received from National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government Ireland and the Marine Institute Ireland, and is part of an ongoing collaboration between University College Cork and University of Wales Swansea .


Doyle, T. K., Houghton, J. D. R., Buckley, S. M., Hays, G. C. & Davenport , J. The broad-scale distribution of five jellyfish species across a temperate coastal environment. Hydrobiologia 579, 29-39 (2007).


Doyle, T. K., Houghton, J. D. R., McDevitt, R., Davenport , J. & Hays, G. C. The energy density of jellyfish: estimates from bomb-calorimetry and proximate-composition. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 343, 239-252 (2007).


Houghton, J. D. R., Doyle, T. K., Davenport , J. & Hays, G. C. The ocean sunfish Mola mola: insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish Sea and Celtic Seas . Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 86, 1237-1243 (2006).


Houghton, J. D. R., Doyle, T. K., Davenport, J. & Hays, G. C. Developing a simple, rapid method for identifying and monitoring jellyfish aggregations from the air. Marine Ecology Progress Series 314, 159-170 (2006).


Houghton, J. D. R., Doyle, T. K., Wilson, M. W., Davenport , J. & Hays, G. C. Jellyfish aggregations and leatherback turtle foraging patterns in a temperate coastal environment. Ecology 87, 1967-1972 (2006).


Hays, G. C., Houghton, J. D. R., Doyle, T. & Davenport, J. Aircraft give a new view of jellyfish behaviour. Nature 426, 383-383 (2003).

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork