Using climate change scenarios to project loggerhead turtle distributions in the US Mid-Atlantic  
Principal investigator: Samir Patel
Funding provided byNOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program
As reptiles, the distribution of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) is constrained, at least in part, by water temperatures. The temperate waters of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) provide critical summer foraging habitat for a large cohort of juvenile and adult loggerhead turtles, which migrate into the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) in the late spring and return to overwintering grounds south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in the fall. Currently, their summer distribution in the MAB is concentrated in the shelf waters from Maryland to New Jersey. However, sea surface temperatures on the northeast US continental shelf are warming faster than in other regions, with the largest anomalies (exceeding 2°C) occurring in the MAB. 
Warming temperatures along the northeast US continental shelf will likely result in a northward distributional shift, as well as changes in the timing of migration into and out of the MAB. This project will model SST conditions favored by loggerheads in the MAB using a large, long-term satellite tagging dataset. The results will improve understanding of both the current and future distribution of loggerheads in the region and can be used to inform fisheries management practices in areas where overlap with fisheries is high. This animation shows the projected probability of turtle presence in the NW Atlantic Shelf waters over the next 80 years based on climate model CM2.6.

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Improving oceanographic models of bottom temperature within the Mid-Atlantic Bight through novel data assimilation and stakeholder input

Principal investigators: Samir Patel and Jason Clermont

Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program

CFF is mapping the seasonality and geographic range of the seasonal Cold Pool water mass in the Mid-Atlantic and its effect on relevant fisheries. Specifically, we are incorporating several years of temperature data accrued from CFF’s animal-borne sensors (comprised of over 10,000 temperature-depth profiles of the entire water column) as well as autonomous ocean gliders, commercial fishing gear, and trawl surveys to improve numerical modeling of the Cold Pool. Once this database is constructed, the calibrated data is assimilated into existing Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) coastal ocean models used in the historical hindcast, contemporary nowcast and future forecast modes. In each case, the spatial extent of the model 10oC Cold Pool is being more clearly defined.

All available CFF published literature and final reports can also be found on our Literature page.

See also: 
Tagging Studies.

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