Florida Atlantic University and University of Central Florida combined to track neonate sea turtles in the Atlantic Ocean waters during their lost years the time after turtles hatch and head out to sea until returning to near shore waters as large juveniles.
Seventeen neonate loggerhead sea turtles were tracked for periods from 27 to 220 days and distances from 124 to 2,672 miles. The turtles remained in oceanic waters off the continental shelf and little loggerhead turtles sought the surface of the water. They do not necessarily remain within the major currents associated with the North Atlantic subtropical Gyre. It was historically thought that loggerhead turtles hatching from Floridas east coast complete a long, developmental migration in a large circle around the Atlantic. Data suggests that turtles may drop out of these currents into the middle of the Atlantic or the Sargasso Sea. The turtles mostly stayed at the sea surface, where they were exposed to the suns energy, and the turtles shells registered more heat than anticipated.